Home - Rasfoiesc.com
Educatie Sanatate Inginerie Business Familie Hobby Legal
Doar rabdarea si perseverenta in invatare aduce rezultate bune.stiinta, numere naturale, teoreme, multimi, calcule, ecuatii, sisteme

Biologie Chimie Didactica Fizica Geografie Informatica
Istorie Literatura Matematica Psihologie


Index » educatie » » literatura » Gramatica



Along with the verb, the noun is the most important part of speech in English. The noun is defined as the part of speech that denotes things* (=beings, objects, ideas, feelings, actions, states, qualities etc.). Unlike the article, it has a meaning of its own and in the morphological system of the English language it is a principal part of speech. Some examples: dog, man, Peter, Mary, Johnson, Brown, table, fidelity, love, hatred, reading, doctor, redness, intention, bread, England, America, New York, London, the Danube, the Mississippi, the Rocky Mountains etc.

1. Classification


According to form, nouns can be: derivatives


obtained by other means

simple: a very large number of nouns in English consist of one root, and frequently have only a single syllable, e.g. boy, girl, table, chair, man, woman, France, John, Williams, America etc.

derivatives/nouns obtained by derivation, i. e. nouns obtained by affixation from other words (adjectives, verbs, other nouns or, to a smaller extent, other parts of speech); without having the intention of providing a course in lexicology, we mention, briefly the most productive noun-forming suffixes:

Proper noun forming suffixes

- SON (= son of) attaches to proper nouns making up family names, e.g. Richard/SON, William/SON, Robert/SON, Ander/SON, David/SON etc.

- TOWN - attaches either to proper or common nouns, making up proper names denoting places, e.g. Georgetown, Jamestown, Capetown, Abbotstown, Beavertown, Bridgetown, Campbelltown, Camptown, Charlestown, Chestertown etc.

BURG(H) or BOROUGH attaches to proper or common nouns , making up proper nouns denoting towns, usually older (in the UK) or which used to be primarily inhabited by a Germanic population or immigrants, if the place is located in the USA, e.g. Edinburg or Edinborough, Johannesburg, Crowborough, Childesburg, Beachburg, Blossburg, Attenburg, Arnoldsburg, Christiansburg, Attleborough, Attleboro (variant), Austinburg etc.

CHESTER/-CESTER/-CASTER (< Lat. castrum), e.g. Manchester, Rochester, Lancaster, Leicester, Chichester, Dorchester, Colchester etc.

SHIRE, usually attaches to proper names to make up proper nouns denoting a larger area, e.g. Lancashire, Warwickshire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire etc.

LAND, meaning country, county, larger area, attaches to common or proper nouns, making up proper names like: England, Iceland, Scotland, Finland, Ireland, Ashland, Auckland, Broomland, Cornland, Cumberland etc.

FIELD , attaches to a large variety of nouns, making up nouns denoting places like: Darfield, Deerfield, Ashfield, Bakersfield, Bayfield, Bettisfield, Bloomfield, Broomfield, Chatfield, Chipperfield etc.

VILLE (<Fr. Ville) attaches to proper or common nouns, producing proper nouns denoting names of places; this suffix is extremely productive particularly in the USA in the areas formerly detained by the French, and then the "model" spread all over the territory, e.g. Danville, Brookville, Bartlesville, Bartonville, Barkeyville, Barryville, Beatyville, Barkersville, Abbeville, Andersonville, Beachville, Beamsville, Baysville, Bonneville, Adamsville, Angerville, Chesterville, Clarkville, Clintonville, Cedarville, Centerville, Cartersville etc.

FORD is relatively productive, making up names of places originally situated near/around/along a ford; e.g. Abbotsford, Ashford, Battleford, Bedford, Bradford, Battesford, Bayford, Cainsford, Crawford etc.

The suffixes mentioned above are some of the most productive in the formation of place names (except - SON), but the list is much longer. This is not the place to have this subject extensively discussed, but some other potent suffixes can be mentioned, e.g. - bury, - bridge, - crook, - hill, - port, - well, - wood, - view and many others.

3. Common noun forming suffixes

- ER/OR/AR [verb + (-er/or/ar)], denoting the doer of the action designated by the base, e.g. learn/er, command/er, write/r, stop/per, dig/ger, sing/er, sail/er (=the ship) etc.; act/or, sail/or, direct/or; beg/gar etc.

[noun + (-er)], to denote the class of individuals professionally connected with what is expresssed by the nominal base, e.g. bottle/r, neddle/r, jewel/ler, glove/r, tile/r, garden/er, rope/r, girdle/r etc.

[proper/common noun + (-er)] to denote the inhabitant of the place the noun base denotes, e.g. London/er, New-Zealand/er, Dublin/er, New-York/er, cottage/r, village/r, island/er, highland/er, southern/er, mid-eastern/er, western/er etc.

- EER [noun +(-eer)] to denote someone/something connected to the noun base; the nature of the connection is occupational, e.g. pamphlet/eer, basket/eer, profit/eer, vacation/eer, racket/eer, auction/eer etc.

- EE [transitive verbs that take animate direct object nouns + (-ee)], the resulting noun denotes the person who suffers the action designated by the base verb, e.g. employ/ee, assign/ee, grant/ee, refer/ee, trust/ee, transfer/ee, nomin/ee, divorc/ee, train/ee, evacu/ee etc.

- ANT/ENT [verb + (-ant/ent)]; it makes up nouns denoting objects/persons who perform the action designated by the base verb, e.g. attend/ant, defend/ant, contamin/ant, depend/ant, resid/ent, solv/ent, adher/ent, oppon/ent, refer/ent etc.

- ISM [proper/common noun + (-ism)]; the resulting nouns denote a system, a principle, a doctrine, e.g. Calvin/ism, Aristotel/ism, Platon/ism, Euphu/ism, Petrarch/ism, Lenin/ism, Gibbon/ism, pagan/ism, expression/ism, ego/ism, protestant/ism, impression/ism, favourit/ism, behaviour/ism, defet/ism, hero/ism etc.

[adjective + (-ism)]; attached to adjectives this suffix produces nouns denoting a system founded on the quality denoted by the adjective, e.g. Christian/ism, Cartesian/ism, Wesleyan/ism, Catholic/ism, real/ism, imperial/ism, commun/ism, ideal/ism, federal/ism etc.

- IST [noun + (ist)] attached to other nouns, this suffix produces nouns denoting professions; it is very productive in Modern English and usually attaches to Latin and Greek bases, e.g. anatomy/anatomist, alchemy/ alchimist, archeology/archeologist, botany/botanist, caricature/ caricaturist, cartoon/cartoonist, economy/economist, physics/physicist, psychiatry/psychiatrist, piano/pianist, parachute/parachutist etc.

- ATION (and its allomorphs: - ITION, -UTION, - TION, -ION) attaches to verb bases producing deverbal abstract nouns. The attachment of this suffix, and its allomorphs, requires a lot of adjustments of the nouns, which are of no concern here, e.g. edify/edification, certify/certification, pacify/pacification, simplify/simplification, verify/ verification, organise/organisation, formalise/formalisation, brutalise/ brutalisation, authorise/authorisation, OR consume/consumption, presume/presumption, resume/resumption, assume/assumption, deduce/deduction, seduce/seduction, introduce/ introduction, reduce/reduction, induce/induction, reproduce/ reproduction etc., conceive/conception, perceive/perception, deceive/ deception, receive/reception, describe/description, prescribe/ prescription, redeem/redemption, absorb/absorption, destroy/ destruction, and with allomorphs add/addition, compete/competition, define/definition, imbibe/imbibition, revolve/revolution, dissolve/ dissolution, resolve/resolution, solve/solution; permit/permission, connect/connection, digest/digestion, decide/decision, concede/ concession, prevent/prevention, revise/revision, percuss/percussion, etc.

- MENT, closely rivals -ATION. It usually attaches to Romance or native verb bases to make up abstract nouns meaning: act of X-ing, concrete place connected with X, e.g. achieve/achievement, advance/advancement, agree/agreement, appoint/appointment, commence/commencement, assess/assessment, manage/management, treat/treatment, amuse/amusement, assort/assortment, engage/ engagement, amaze/amazement, settle/settlement, ship/shipment, enlighten/enlightenment, embark/embarkment, besiege/besiegement, bereave/bereavement, bewilder/bewilderment etc.

NOTE: not all words ending in -MENT are instances of derivation, e.g. element, monument, garment regiment, ferment, torment, sediment, segment; some of these words can be both nouns and verbs.

- AL attaches to Romance and native verb bases, producing abstract nouns, e.g. arrive/arrival, aquit/aquital, deny/denial, remove/removal, try/trial, dispose/disposal, receive/receival, revive/revival, refuse/ refusal, recite/recital, survive/survival, approve/approval, propose/ proposal, betray/betrayal etc.

- NESS is very productive in Mod. English and usually attaches to:

[adjective + (-ness)], e.g. bitter/bitterness, bright/brightness, clean/ness, cool/coolness, good/goodness, greedy/greediness, hard/hardness, idle/idleness, thick/thickness, big/bigness, dull/ dullness, common/commonness, kind/kindness etc.

[complex adjectives + (ness)], e.g. wrongheaded/ wrongheadedness, levelheaded/levelheadedness, kindhearted/ kindheartedness shortsighted shortsightedness straightforward/ straightforwardness etc.

[participial adjectives + (-ness)], e.g. drunken/drunkenness, ashamed/ashamedness, devoted/devotedness, unexpected/ unexpectedness, loving/lovingness, knowing/knowingness, shocking/shockingness, willing/willingness etc.

- ITY [adjective + (-ity)] generates nouns meaning: state or quality characterized by X; because this suffix frequently modifies the base stress pattern it is less productive than - NESS. The suffix - ITY attaches to adjectives ending in -able, -ic, -al, -ous as well as to a large variety of others, e.g. implaccable/implaccability, capable/capability, respectable/respectability, agreeable/agreeability, excitable/excitability, invincible/invincibility, compatible/compatibility, accountable/ brutal/brutality, casual/casualty, technical/technicality abnormal/ abnormality, formal/formality original/originality etc. AND ALSO curious/curiosity, fabulous/fabulosity, various/variety, simultaneous/ simultaneity, atrocious/atrocity, credulous/credulity; profane/profanity, verbose/verbosity, sterile/sterility, obese/obesity, serene/serenity, profound/profundity etc.

- DOM [common nouns + (-dom)] makes up abstract nouns starting from concrete ones, e.g. king/kingdom, sheriff/sheriffdom, rebel/ rebeldom, spinster/spinsterdom, savage/savagedom, beggar/ beggardom, duke/dukedom, saint/saintdom, scholar/scholardom etc.

- HOOD [common nouns + (-hood)], with the meaning state characterized by X; e.g. child/childhood, priest/priesthood (preotie), man/manhood, boy/boyhood, baby babyhood, maiden/maidenhood, widow/widowhood, neighbour/ neighbourhood, master/masterhood, monk/monkhood, woman/ womanhood etc. while some of the - HOOD nouns have developed a second meaning, collectivity characterized by X, brother/brotherhood, priest/priesthood (preotime), maiden/ maidenhood, sister/sisterhood, lady/ladyhood etc.

- SHIP [common nouns + (-ship)] produces abstract nouns denoting status or condition characterized by X, e.g. friend/friendship, champion/championship, kin/kinship, lord/lordship, companion/ companionship, member/membership, lady/ladyship, doctor/doctorship, craftsman/craftsmanship etc.

-ERY, and its allomorphs -ry, -y, triggered by the final consonant (t/d/n) apply to nominal bases, generating a variety of meanings, e.g. place of activity, behaviour characteristic of X, collectivity of X, e.g. swan/swannery, hen/hennery, rabbit/rabbitry, pigeon/pigeonry, nun/ nunnery, baker/bakery, grocer/grocery, brewer/brewery; bigot/bigotry, snob/snobbery, slave/slavery, devil/devilry, savage/savagery etc.

- ANCE and its allomorph, -ence, attaches to verbs, producing nouns denoting processes, e.g. continue/continuance, appear/appearance, clear/clearance, assist/assistance, inherit/inheritance, accept/ acceptance; prefer/preference, confer/conference etc.

The above mentioned suffixes are by no means the only noun-forming suffixes in English, but are, most assuredly, the most important through their productivity in Modern English.

3. Compounds

Compound nouns play an important role in the English today because of their large number in contemporary language; they can be divided into several classes, according to various criteria, e.g.

Transparency of meaning (transparent, non-transparent)

Constituting elements (structure, i.e. noun+noun, verb+adverbial particle or preposition, adjective+noun, pronoun + noun etc. )

Spelling (one word, two words, hyphenated); this criterion is not identically observed in all varieties of English;

Direct compounds or conversions of already compound verbs or adjectives etc.

Examples: (in the following enumeration the above criteria are not observed step by step) armchair, blackboard, butterfly, blackmail, drive-in, blackout, passer-by, man servant, woman servant, self-confidence, mother-in-law, father-in-law etc., step-mother, editor-in-chief, he-wolf, she-wolf, tomcat, pussycat, boy friend, girl friend etc.

Nouns obtained by other means of word-formation, e.g. UNO (unidentified flying objects), VIP (very important person), exam (<examination), Jap (< Japanese), strength (< strong), length (< long) etc.

According to other criteria, nouns can be:

proper and common nouns, e.g. John, Thomas, William, England, Romania, the Alps, the Danube, or mountain, boy, electricity, development, reading, pronunciation, x-rays, book, carry-on etc.

concrete and abstract nouns, e.g. book, girl, car, engine, airport, soup, radio, elephant, or beauty, development, sincerity, poverty, tolerance, arrival, sheriffdom, neighbourhood, relationship etc.

countable and uncountable/mass nouns, e.g. table/s, chair/s, woman/ women, work/s, wife/wives, or bread, advice, information, coffee, sugar, luggage, knowledge, hair etc.

4. Grammatical categories of nouns

It is in the tradition of English teaching to identify 3 main morphological categories a noun can have in English, i.e. number, gender and case.

5. Number

Definition - the form which a noun takes in order to show that we refer to ONE or MORE representatives of a class of notions is called number of nouns; the two forms are called singular when the noun renders a single noun and plural when the noun assumes a form that shows more than one element (this interpretation is not always perfect, but seems to be the most acceptable for the time being).

Number in English is closely associated with the concept of countability. Nouns fall, mainly, under two classes commonly referred to as countables and uncountables, or count nouns/uncount or mass nouns. The chief grammatical differences are that the uncountables generally have no plural form (*butters, *oils, *breads, *informations ) and they cannot take the indefinite article a/an (*a butter, *an oil, *a bread, *an information), while countables can (a cat, a dog, an egg). Uncountables can take some/any/etc. or phrases denoting quantity, e.g. Would you like some bread? (see under section. It is, however, possible to 'switch' countables into uncountables and vice versa. We could say Would you like some giraffe? to people who eat giraffe, or A petrol I like very much is Brand X. Countable nouns may be treated as uncountables if they are regarded as food, and uncountables as countables when the meaning is 'a kind of' But the semantics alone is not enough; some words belong to both classes, e.g. cake: Would you like a cake? Would you like some cake?

According to the category of number Leon Levitchi found that nouns can be classified as follows:

Individual nouns: a) individual nouns proper; b) defective individual nouns.

Unique nouns: a) proper noun equivalents; b) nouns of material; c) abstract nouns considered as 'unique'.

Collective nouns: a) collective nouns proper; b) nouns of multitude; c) individual nouns of multitude.

5.1. Individual nouns proper

The nouns in this class have a singular and a plural form; the plural form is mostly regular* although there is a large range of irregular* forms (*all these forms will be given below); they agree in number with the verb, i.e. the singular form takes a verb in the singular while the plural noun takes a plural verb; they can be modified by adjectives or other nouns, and can take determiners like: the indefinite article, indefinite adjectives etc., e.g.

The boy is hungry/The boys are hungry;

The round table is more expensive than the square one;

The book shelves are empty;

Some English books are more expensive than others; etc.

5.1.1. Regular plurals

The plural of regular nouns is made up by adding an -s to the singular: book/books, bag/bags, chin/chins, dog/dogs door/doors, reporter/reporters experience/experiences, example/ examples, waiter/waiters, discussion/discussions, house/houses etc.

Nouns ending in a sibilant, i.e. -s, -ss, -z, -zz, -sh, (t)ch, -x form their plural by adding -es [iz]: bus/buses, glass/glasses, buzz/ buzzes, bush/bushes, church/churches, box/boxes;

A number of nouns ending in -o form their plural by adding -es, e.g. tomato/tomatoes, potato/potatoes, hero/heroes, mosquito/ mosquitoes, negro/negroes, volcano/volcanoes etc., but piano/ pianos, radio/radios, photo/photos, kilo/kilos, soprano/sopranos casino/casinos, cuckoo/cuckoos, embryo/embryos, kangaroo/ kangaroos, studio/studios etc. add only an -s. Actually, nouns ending in -o have become regular in American English and there is a similar tendency in British English, although this fact has not been formally accepted yet. The learner should not bother to distinguish between the nouns that take only an -s as the plural ending or -es, or the ones which have alternative forms.

Nouns ending in -y preceded by a consonant (consonant + -y ) or those ending in -quy form their plural by dropping the -y and adding -ies, e.g. country/ countries, city/cities, lady/ladies, baby/babies, cry/cries, candy/candies, soliloquy/soliloquies, colloquy/colloquies etc.

Nouns ending in -y preceded by a vowel (vowel + -y) form their plural by adding -s, e.g. boy /boys, day/days, guy/guys, donkey/ donkeys, play/plays, toy/toys etc.

Several nouns ending in -f or -fe drop the -f or -fe and add /ves. These nouns are: calf/calves, half/halves, knife/knives, leaf/leaves, life/lives, loaf/loaves, self/selves, sheaf/sheaves, shelf/shelves, thief/thieves, wife/wives, wolf/wolves, elf/elves exception: still life - still lifes.

The nouns hoof, scarf, and warf take either -s or -ves in the plural, i.e. hoof//hoofs/hooves, scarf//scarfs/scarves, warf/ /warfs/ warves;

other nouns ending in -f or -fe add -s in the ordinary way: cliff/cliffs, handkerchief/handkerchiefs, roof/roofs, safe/ safes, etc.

The word house/s has an irregular pronunciation in the plural, [hauziz].

5.1. Irregular plurals

There are nouns that form their plural:

by vowel change, e.g. man/men; woman/women, foot/feet, tooth/teeth, goose/geese, louse/lice, mouse/mice; child/ children, ox/oxen, titmouse/titmice, dormouse/dormice, but mongoose/ mongooses

some words which retain their original Greek or Latin forms make their plurals according to the rules of Greek or Latin e.g.

-sis > ses, pronounced [sis/si:z] e.g. analysis/analyses, axis/axes,     crisis/crises, basis/bases, diagnosis/diagnoses, oasis/oases, paranthesis/ parantheses, synthesis/syntheses, thesis/theses, ellipsis/ellipses etc.

-um > a, e.g. agendum/agenda, erratum/errata, memorandum/ memoranda, sanatorium/sanatoria/sanatoriums, symposium/ symposia, aquarium/aquaria, bacterium/ bacteria, datum/data, mausoleum /mausolea /mausoleums, spectrum/ spectra/ spectrums, stadium/stadia/stadiums, stratum/ strata etc.

-us > i, e.g. terminus/termini, bronchus/bronchi, focus/foci, radius/radii, cactus/cacti, fungus/fungi, bacillus/bacilli, nucleus/nuclei etc.

-non > a, e.g. phenomenon/phenomena, criterion/criteria;

a > ae, e.g. formula/formulae, alga/algae, larva/larvae etc.

Some Latin nouns may observe both the Latin and the English rule, the Latin forms being preferred by scientists and educated people in general while the English ones are used in current speech: dogma/dogmae/dogmas, formula/formulae/formulas, gymnasi um/gymnasia/gymnasiums etc.

Sometimes nouns can have two different plurals with different meanings, e.g. appendix/appendixes/appendices (medical term), index/indexes (in books)/indices (in mathematics) etc.

There is quite a large number of nouns (not necessarily of Latin origin) which have double plural forms implying changes of meaning (Levitchi, 1970: 30)), e.g.

Singular    Plural

accomplishment indeplinire,    accomplishments

efectuare, savarsire

- realizare - realizari

- educatie, cultura, maniere,

buna crestere

apartment - (amer.) apartament apartments - apartamente

(in bloc) - (ín Anglia) locuinta cu chirie


arm    - brat arms - brate - arme

ash - (no pl.) scrum    ashes - cenusa

brother - frate brothers - frati (in familie)

brethren - frati (in comunitate)

casualty - ranit casualties - pierderi (raniti, morti)

cloth    - stofa, material cloths - stofe, materiale

clothes - haine, imbracaminte

colour - culoare     colours - culori

- vopsele, culori

- drapel

combination - combinatie     combinations - combinatii

- combinezon

commodity - obiect/articol de uz commodities obiecte articole de uz

- marfa

compass - busola    compasses - busole

- compas

cow    - vaca cows - vaci

kine - vaci, vite

content - continut/cuprins    contents - continuturi/cuprinsuri

- continut/capacitate - continuturi/capacitati

- (no pl.) continut (nu forma)

custom - obicei, datina    customs - obiceiuri, datini

- vama; taxe vamale

direction - directie    directions - directii;

- directive

due - (no pl.) cele cuvenite dues - taxe, impozite

- cotizatii

element- element    elements - elemente

- elemente = stihii

- rudimente, baze

facility- (no pl.) usurinta, facilitate facilities - facilitati = conditii


- facilitati = aparatura


genius - geniu    geniuses - genii (acelasi sens)

(persoana superdotata) genii - genii (= duhuri)

glass    - sticla; oglinda; pahar glasses - varietati de sticla;

oglinzi; pahare

- ochelari

- binoclu

green - (culoarea) verde    greens - varietati de verde

- pajiste (no pl.)    - legume

ground - (no pl.) pamant, sol; teren grounds - gradina, parc (in jurul


- zat, drojdii, sedimente

- motive = cauze; temei

honour - onoare, cinste (no pl.) honours - onoruri

minute - minut minutes - minute

- proces verbal

moral - morala (a unei fabule etc.)    morals - moravuri, moralitate

regard - (no pl.) consideratie, stima    regards - complimente

respect - (no pl.) stima, respect,    respects - salutari, omagii


staff - toiag staffs or staves - toiege

- personal staffs - personaluri

- stat-major staffs - state-majore

- portativ staffs or staves- portative

work - (no pl.) lucru, munca works - lucrari, opere

- lucrare, opera - uzina, fabrica

5.1.3. The plural of compound nouns

There is a general rule according to which the last word in a compound is made plural if that last word is a noun (carrying the main idea), e.g.

noun + noun, e.g. boy - friend/boy - friends, travel - agent/travel - agents, bookstore/bookstores etc.

the first noun is made plural in compounds composed of noun + preposition + noun, e.g. lady-in-waiting/ladies-in-waiting, editor-in-chief/editors-in-chief, sister-in-law/sisters-in-law, brother-in-law/ brothers-in-law, ward-of-court/wards-of-court etc.

the first word is made plural in compounds made up of verb + - er nouns + adverbial particles, e.g. passer-by/passers-by, hanger-on/hangers-on, looker-on/lookers-on, runner-up/runners-up etc.

verb (without nominal ending ) + adverbial particle nouns get the inflectional suffix at the very end, e.g. take-off/take-offs, break-in/break-ins etc.

compound nouns that have no nouns in their structure get the - s at the very end, e.g. merry-go-round/merry-go-rounds, forget-me-not/forget-me-nots etc.

in compounds consisting of man/woman + another noun both parts are made plural, e.g. man servant/men servants, woman servant/women servants, man driver/men drivers, woman driver/ women drivers etc.

5. Defective individual nouns

Defective individual nouns are always plural and take a plural verb; they usually denote garments consisting of two parts e.g. breeches, pants, pyjamas, trousers, shorts or tools and instruments also consisting of two parts, e.g. binoculars, glasses, pliers, scales, scissors, shears, spectacles, compasses, tongs etc., e.g.

Where are my glasses?

Your binoculars are broken;

But we can also say:

I bought a very nice pair of spectacles for Mary yesterday;

We need a new pair of compasses;

There are some nouns denoting parts of the body, e.g. bowels, whiskers, entrails, sinews which take a plural verb and plural determiners; these nouns cannot be used in the form without -s.

There are also other words including: arms, damages, earnings, goods/wares, greens, grounds, outskirts, pains, particulars, premises/ quarters, riches, savings, stairs, surroundings, valuables, spirits whose form stairs in - s has a completely different meaning from the form without - s (the stem can be a noun, an adjective, or a present participle; that is why the use of the term ¢plural¢ has been avoided); some of the words mentioned above do not even have a form without - s; they take a plural verb and plural determiners, e.g.

These stairs are dirty again;

Our valuables are in the safe etc.

The noun news is plural in form but can only take a verb in the singular, and the predeterminers are in the singular or indefinite, e.g.

The news is good;

Some news is better not told.

One should not take any news for granted.

The nouns means (mijloc, mijloace), series (serie, serii) and species (specie specii) are always plural in form but can be used with a singular or plural verb according to the speaker's wish. They can be used with singular, plural or indefinite predeterminers, e.g.

Their means of solving the problem was not the best one can think of.

Some modern means of preventing tuberculosis are really very efficient.

A series of lectures will be delivered by a famous professor starting tomorrow.

There is a species of big cats/felines which is almost extinct.

The noun money has only a singular form and can take only a singular verb; money is replaced by the pronoun it; it can take determiners in the singular and also some, any e.g.

This is my money, it is not yours;

Mary needs some money etc.

5.3. Proper noun equivalents

These nouns have only the singular number and denote individualized or unique objects; they are much like any other proper nouns but their names coincide with the names of the objects themselves, e.g. the earth, the sun, the moon, the east, the west, the south, the north, nature, heaven, hell, paradise; names of languages, e.g. English, French, German, Romanian, Arabic, Spanish, Italian etc. These nouns cannot be used generically, i.e. to represent a class of objects; many of them are used with a definite article. Sometimes, for stylistic reasons, they can be used with an (indefinite/definite) article + adjective, e.g. a burning hot sun was shining.; a full moon appeared from behind the trees; his life was the most insufferable hell etc. Some of these nouns can, accidentally, be used in the plural, a fact that brings about a slight change in meaning, e.g. There are many suns in the universe.

5.4. Nouns of materials

This category of nouns denotes materials and substances and they are usually mass nouns, e.g. bread, beer, cloth, coffee, cream, dust, gin, glass, gold, ice, jam, oil, paper, sand, soap, stone, tea, water, wine, wood etc.; they take a singular verb and they are not normally used with the indefinite article a/an; we can say, however, e.g. two coffees, please (= two cups of coffee), he had three beers (=three glasses of beer/three cans of beer). If you want to be more specific, you can use words such as, e.g. loaf, slice, cup, cake, bar, piece, jar, spoonful, can, glass, bottle, kilo, pound etc. But we can only say

His house is made of fine wood; (material)

Japanese houses are usually made of paper; (material)

That is a building made of steel and glass etc.(material)

That piece of information was definitely incorrect;

My mother has bought a very expensive piece of furniture etc.

Certain nouns of material have two different meanings of which one can have a plural form, e.g. glass (material) - uncountable, but glass (=pahar)/glasses, paper (material - uncountable, but paper/papers (=newspaper)/newspapers, steel (material) - uncountable, but steel/ steels (varieties of ~), iron (material )/irons (=fieruri de calcat) etc.

A few nouns of materials have only the plural form and take a plural verb, e.g. victuals, dregs, sweepings, spirits etc.

5.5. Abstract nouns considered as unique

Nouns in this category only have the singular form, although there are situations when they are used in the plural, but then their abstract character is less obvious, e.g. his comings and goings, Shakespeare's writings etc. The nouns in this class can be grouped as follows, e.g.

actions and states, e.g. reading, expectation, course, writing etc. that can be used in the plural, e.g.

Our expectations have been met etc.

qualities, e.g. readiness, timeliness, neighbourhood, childhood, friendliness, strength, length, width, depth, truth, etc.; these nouns are only used in the singular with a verb in the singular, e.g.

The truth is that I didn't know about their marriage etc.

philosophical and aesthetical categories, e.g. philosophy, history, music, literature, the new, the old, the beautiful, the infinite, the sublime, the fantastic, the grotesque; these nouns are always used in the singular and take a verb in the singular, e.g.

The beautiful is one of the most important aesthetic categories;

The infinite is difficult to understand etc.

feelings, e.g. love, hatred, pity, desire, mercy, courage, death, fear, hope, relief, suspicion; they are always used in the singular and take a singular verb, e.g.

Love is the noblest feeling in the world etc.

doctrines, schools, currents, games, e.g. chess, tennis, football, basketball, rugby, handball, cricket, backgammon, illuminism, classicism, socialism, capitalism, nationalism, Renaissance, Romaticism, etc. One should not forget that -ism is pronounced [-izm]. E.g..

Football is an interesting game but rugby requires more strength;

Nationalism is not always good;

other categories, e.g. wealth, poverty, childhood, age, philosophy, history, music, literature, art, white, read, yellow, chess, tennis, football etc., e.g.

Yellow is my favourite colour;

Old age is never pleasant;

Football is the most widespread team game in the world;

The following abstract nouns are considered uncountable in English, e.g. advice, news, information, knowledge, baggage, luggage, furniture, hair; they take a verb in the singular and cannot be used with an indefinite article, though with some/any can; if the speaker wants to show very specifically that he means only one item of the respective nouns, he can use ¢one piece of¢ ¢one item of¢ etc., e.g.

Hair (all the hair on one¢s head) is considered uncountable, but if we consider each hair separately, we can say ¢one hair, two hairs etc.¢, e.g.

Her hair is black; whenever she finds a grey hair she pulls it out;

Certain nouns can be countable when used in a particular sense, e.g.

experience meaning ²something which happened to someone² is countable, e.g. He had an exciting experience/some exciting experiences;

work meaning - occupation/employment/a job/jobs is uncountable, e.g. He is looking for work, while

¢works¢ can mean ¢factory¢ ¢moving parts of a machine¢, or can refer to literary or musical compositions, e.g. Shakespeare¢s complete works were published by one of the most famous publishing houses in England.

help can be countable in: My children are a great help to me; A good map would be a great help.

relief is also countable in: It was a relief to sit down.

knowledge in: He had a good knowledge of mathematics.

Similarly, a mercy/pity/shame/wonder introduced by it can be used with that-clauses/an infinitive, e.g.

It is a pity (that) you were not here;

It¢s a shame(that) he was not paid,

or    It would be a pity to cut down these trees;

A fear/fears, a hope/hopes, a suspicion/suspicions introduced by there can be used with a that-clause, e.g.

There is a fear/There are fears that he has been murdered;

We can also have a suspicion that etc.

names of sciences - a number of words ending in -ics and denoting names of sciences are plural in form and usually take a plural verb, but a singular verb is also possible, e.g.

His mathematics are weak;

In our country physics are taught only in middle and high school;

though we can say:

Mathematics is an exact science or

Dynamics is a branch of physics etc

names of diseases and games - in spite of the plural form, these nouns take only a verb in the singular, e.g. measles, mumps, rickets; billiards, marbles, draughts, skittles etc., e.g.

Measles is a contagious disease;

Mumps is more dangerous in adults than in children;

Billiards is interesting but it does not equal marbles etc.

5.6. Collective nouns proper

Collective nouns proper e.g. crew, family, team, jury, government, committee, club, corporation, ministry, majority, mankind etc. are all nouns denoting a group of people, therefore, semantically they are plurals (and take a plural verb) although in point of grammar they are singulars (and can take a singular verb). They are used as collective nouns, taking a verb in the plural, when the speaker wants to point out that every member of the group has performed a certain action, or the speaker can decide to use a verb in the singular if he is not interested in that emphasis; so, it can be said:

The jury are considering their verdict or

The jury is considering its verdict and the meaning is just the same.

However, there are rare instances when the word is clearly used to mean a single group or unit and then the verb should be in the singular, e.g.

Our team is the best;

Their family consists of 4 persons etc.

but Our team are wearing their new jerseys;

The crew are adeck;

The committee have decided to support us (each and every member).

The nouns in this class can be preceded by possessive adjectives or demonstrative adjectives in the singular only, e.g.

Her family were away;

That government was denied the right to rule the country any longer etc.

These same nouns can function as regular countable nouns, e.g. crew/crews, family/families, team/teams, jury/juries, government/ governments etc., taking a verb in the singular or in the plural as required, e.g.

Mr. Brown¢s family is large but our families are even larger;

The government of our country has decided to join the EU and is taking the adequate measures;

The post-war governments were engaged in a cold war that lasted for decades;

People, animals or things are taken as collective nouns by words with a restrictive usage, e.g.

a panel of experts

a troupe of dancers

a staff of teachers

a bevy of girls

a company of actors

a gang of thieves etc.

5.7. Nouns of multitude

Nouns of multitude are a variety of the collective nouns, the former being rather inconsistent as far as their characteristics are concerned; the most frequent are: people, gentry, folk, poultry, the military, police, clergy, foot (infantry), vermin, cattle; their common characteristic is that all take exclusively a verb in the plural; BUT while people, folk, poultry can take some, demonstratives in the plural and numerals, others, like military, police, clergy or foot cannot. E.g.

Some/Five/These people are waiting in the other room, but we cannot say

* Thirty police are following the thief. Instead, we must say

Thirty policemen are following the thief;

We can say

Some folk are very inquisitive but we cannot say

*Some police are doing their jobs etc.

Names of peoples as the English, the French, the Swiss, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Spanish, the Dutch and any such names ending in -ss, -(t)ch, -ese take a plural verb e.g.

The English have won the match;

The French like red wine and cheese etc.

5.8. Individual nouns of multitude

Individual nouns of multitude are, in fact, nouns denoting various creatures, e.g.

Deer, sheep never change and take either a singular or a plural verb.

They saw three deer in the Nottingham forest.

A sheep was grazing on the meadow.

They bought ten sheep and a cow.

Fish, carp, cod, mackerel, pike, plaice, salmon, squid, trout etc. normally take a singular verb. These nouns do not change in the plural but if used in a plural sense they would take a plural verb; they can take numerals and the verb form is dictated by the determiners, if there are any, e.g.

Mary has bought three trout;

My friend has sold ten sheep;

John caught ten salmon yesterday;

The three trout are in the kitchen sink;

Ten sheep were bought and taken to John¢s farm etc.

There are some nouns denoting varieties of fish that can be used in the plural form and would take a plural verb, e.g. crabs, eels, herrings, lobsters, sardines, sharks.

The noun game, used by sportsmen to mean an animal/animals hunted, is always in the singular, takes a singular verb and indefinite predeterminers. Nouns like duck, partridge, pheasant etc. have a dual functioning, sportsmen use them in the singular form, meaning both a singular and a plural, while other people would normally add an -s for the plural and use either a singular or a plural verb, depending on the form chosen.

6. Gender

In an inflected language, GENDER is a grammatical category of nouns; usually masculine, feminine and neuter they are declined in accordance with the corresponding declension patterns of the respective language (see any of the Romance languages, German, Slavic languages etc.). In such a language articles and adjectives are also inflected and agree in number, gender and case with the noun they modify. Therefore, in an inflected language it is important to know whether a noun belongs to any of the grammatical genders in order to attach to it the modifiers in the corresponding form (see Romanian, e.g. casa frumoasa, baiat frumos, scaun frumos etc.)

English is an analytical language, i.e. one in which the relations among words are mainly based on the use of prepositions, auxiliary verbs, word order etc. and very little on changing the basic form of the words. If the category of number is strongly represented in nouns, that of gender is grammatically absent because nouns in English cannot be classified in terms of agreement with articles, adjectives or even verbs (Palmer, F. idem) - articles and adjectives are invariable as far as gender is concerned. According to Frank Palmer, treating English nouns in terms characteristic of Latin only because that is the type of grammar mostly accepted in European linguistics is a mistake, on the one hand, and a grave distortion of the English. It is true that in English there are pairs of words of the type man/woman, boy/girl, stallion/mare, brother/sister, uncle/aunt etc. but this is a lexical feature, not a grammatical one, related to sex, not gender. We should talk of these, then, in terms of male and female not masculine and feminine. According to Palmer (idem), ²if we divide up the words in English according to the pronouns used to replace them we find not three classes but seven, since some words are referred to by two or three pronouns, e.g.

he    - man, boy, uncle

she - woman, girl, aunt

it    - table, chair, tree

he, she    - doctor, teacher, cousin

he, it    - bull, ram, boar

she, it    - ewe, sow, ship*

he, she, it    - cat, dog, thrush

*there is one odd word here ship, and we can add car, boat, engine. It could be argued that since these are sometimes referred to as ¢she¢ that English has gender, since this is not a matter of sex but of the arbitrary kind of classification found in French, Romanian etc. But, first, these are very few in number (and we should not wish to build a grammatical category on a few examples) and they belong to a clearly defined class of mechanical things. We can add to this class, and in recent years, plane and hovercraft. This is not then a matter of grammatical gender at all but simply that she is used for females and mechanical objects (a class defined semantically). Where there is co-reference with reflexives, it might seem we have agreement within the clause, and a similar point could be made with emphatic forms with -self since we find The boy himself and The boy hurt himself not *The boy hurt herself. But this is still determined by sex, not grammatical gender. The choice of one of the following will depend on a judgement about sex: The dog bit himself/The dog bit herself/The dog bit itself² (Palmer idem)

In conclusion, when discussing English gender (another term is needed, but sex is not acceptable and another one has not yet been invented), readers should be warned that the term is used to mean reference to biological sex and not to the abstract grammatical category. Modern linguists suggest that English nouns should be divided into two large classes:

animate - within this class, according to their natural sex, nouns can denote males and females, usually referred to as he or she (though it is sometimes possible);

inanimate - i.e. nouns denoting things, abstractions, natural phenomena, feelings, actions, states, qualities etc.

Within the class of animate nouns male and female are rendered by a variety of means, e.g.

by a pair of distinctive words (not instances of derivation), e.g. bachelor/spinster, boy/girl, brother/sister, bull/cow, cock/hen, daddy/mammy, dog/bitch, drake/duck, earl/countess, father/ mother, gander/goose, fox/vixen, stallion/mare, king/queen, husband/wife, lord/lady, man/woman, master/mistress, monk/nun, nephew/niece, ox/cow, ram/ewe, son/daughter, uncle/aunt, wizard/witch etc.

by suffixation, from nouns denoting male creatures, e.g. actor/ actress, baron/baroness, emperor/empress, heir/heiress, tiger/ tigress, host/hostess, lion/lioness, prince/princess, steward/ stewardess, waiter/waitress, hero/heroine, administrator/ administratrix, sultan/sultana etc.

by using different words that clearly state the sex of the key noun, e.g. man/woman, preceding or following the key noun, man/maid, lord/lady, boy/girl, cock/hen, bull/cow etc. can be used to make up compounds whose gender is clearly stated; male and female are very general in use and can be chosen whenever we do not know what other word to choose to distinguish a female creature from the male one, e.g. man servant/woman servant, man character/woman character, (man) teacher/woman teacher. Man/ woman/lady in front position, however, are not very common in distinguishing the sexes of the nouns denoting professions because this distinction is either irrelevant in the context or, if necessary, it can be done by using the personal pronoun, possessive adjectives or pronouns or various other lexical means, e.g. My English teacher is a very special person - the sex is not stated, but the speaker might continue: She is a real professional - this time the sex has been stated, or It is a she who . etc.

There are lots of nouns denoting professions and various other notions which have only one form for both sexes, the distinction being made in the context, e.g. architect, artist, associate, author, beginner, buyer, child, client, companion, owner, painter, photographer, physician, physicist, manager, passenger, philosopher, physiologist, pilot, player, worker, writer etc. In final position, however, man/woman/person are usually interchangeable and necessary to state the profession and the sex of the person performing it. Such nouns denoted initially male persons, but, in the course of time the term for the other sex appeared necessary, e.g. gentleman/gentlewoman, policeman/ policewoman, salesman/ saleswoman, milkman/milkwoman, chairman/chairwoman/ chairperson, barman/barmaid, landlord/landlady, boyfriend/girlfriend (=lover/sweetheart), schoolboy/schoolgirl etc.

Birds and animals can be distinguished, by specific words (cock/hen, bull/cow etc.) e.g. cock-sparrow/hen-sparrow, cock-bird/hen-bird, bull camel/cow camel, bull elephant/cow elephant, and also male or female bird or animal.

proper nouns and the personal pronoun he/she are sometimes used to distinguish sex in animals, e.g. tomcat, Tomcat/pussycat, Pussycat, Billy goat/Nanny goat etc., he wolf/she wolf, he parrot/she parrot, he bear/she bear, he eagle/she eagle; the terms male and female can also do the trick.

For animals and birds there is a common gender noun that is used as the name of the species and also two distinct names for the two biological sexes, e.g.

Common gender/male animal female animal

bear he-bear she-bear

cat tomcat pussycat

cattle bull cow

deer buck doe

dog dog bitch

duck drake duck

elephant bull-elephant cow-elephant etc.

NOTE: When a human noun is replaced by a pronoun and the sex is not known or specified, traditionally he is used rather than she, e.g. A martyr is someone who gives up his life for his beliefs; however, nowadays, this bias toward the male term is widely avoided, and he or she (or him or her etc.) is often used instead, e.g. A martyr is someone who gives up his or her life for his or her beliefs; as this example shows, however, he or she etc. can have an awkward effect, especially if repeated. Another method of avoiding sex bias, well established in <spoken English>, is the singular use of they, e.g. A martyr is someone who gives up their life for their beliefs. This ¢ungrammatical¢ mixing of singular and plural is making its way into <informal> writing. Since none of the above alternatives is entirely satisfactory, it is often possible to avoid the problem of sex-neutral third-person reference by changing from the singular to the plural, e.g. Martyrs are people who give up their life/lives for their beliefs; here, of course, the use of they causes no problem in itself, although indirectly it may cause other problems, such as whether to use life or lives in the above example. Other solutions to the problem of how to avoid male bias include the use of the subjective pronoun s/he, the use of he and she and the use of she as a sex-neutral pronoun. The mixed form s/he is convenient in writing, but has the disadvantage of not having any oblique forms such as *s *him or *s/his. Another disadvantage is that its pronunciation is not distinguishable from that of she.

6.1. Sex and gender determiners

Nouns denoting beings other than man are either masculine or feminine, when their sex is expressed by pairs of antonyms (see above). Nouns denoting beings other than man and having no gender antonyms are generally treated as ¢objects¢ and are therefore replaceable by it. This happens particularly when no special attention is given to them, when it is considered unnecessary to specify their sex, when the animals are very small, or when their sex is unknown. Special attention should be paid to pet animals, animals presented as characters in fables etc. because they are treated either as masculine or feminine, e.g

Soon a little folk of sparrows and other small birds assembled to feed as usual. One of them sat on the edge of the tray and was just going to hop in, when she spied the caterpillar. (John Lubbock, The Beauties of Nature).

or The brave little insect never remained there, she came out in the search of her friends (ibid.);

The fox had only thin soup to eat, and he put it in a flat soup-plate.

The crane was a tall bird. She had a long neck and a long bill, so she could not eat from a soup-plate (Stories about Insects and Birds);

An otter, curled in the dry upper hollow of the fallen oak, heard them, and uncurling, shook herself on four short legs (H. Williamson, Tarka and Otter).

Such examples as these point to the importance of context in order to establish both the gender of the noun and the speaker¢s attitude towards the animal etc. which it denotes. In their ¢dictionary state¢, these nouns resemble nouns in the inanimate class; it is important to notice that sometimes gender of nouns is determined by subjective criteria, such as the speaker¢s attitude of love, depreciation, indifference etc. not only by objective ones (real sex).

Personification can affect a large variety of inanimate nouns, and, consequently, these nouns take sex-marked determiners (his/her, him/her) and the Saxon genitive, e.g. ships (vessels of any kind) and cars are generally feminine and take feminine determiners; train and plane are occasionally feminine etc.

7. Case

Like in all languages the case expresses a relation between certain parts of speech but the category of the case has acquired specific characteristics in English. According to most contemporary grammarians there are only two cases in English: the common case (i.e. the nominative, the dative and the accusative) and the possessive case (the genitive); other grammarians accept the existence of three cases in English, i.e. the nominative, the genitive and the objective. In Old English there were four cases characterized by a large number of inflections, as Old English was still a highly inflected language like all the other Germanic languages to which it belongs. Has the disappearance of the case inflections led to the disappearance of the cases? The answer is no. What has actually disappeared is the endings characterizing three of the cases, but their functions have remained, and are realized in other ways, i.e. word order [The girl (nominative) saw the boy (accusative)] and the use of prepositions [I made it for Mary] etc.

Since cases express a relation between certain parts of speech, the function that a noun has in the sentence will be the reason for accepting four cases in English, i.e. the nominative, the genitive, the dative and the accusative, each corresponding to at least one important function. This is useful in studying English in relation to the inflected Romanian which has five cases ., the vocative in English is considered a form of the nominative and is called ¢ the nominative of address.

7.1. The nominative

The nominative is the basic form of the noun, and syntactically, may discharge the function of:

a subject, e.g.

John/The student has been asked to repeat the question;

The doctors were very busy;

Tom and Jerry are famous cartoon characters etc.

a predicative, e.g.

His son was an extremely good student;

Michaela is a very good teacher etc;

an apposition, e.g.

Mr. Brown, the English teacher, invited all his students to a party;

The adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain¢s masterpiece, was written in the second half of the 19th century etc.;

the nominative of address replaces in certain grammars the vocative, e.g. Come in, John!

There are also several constructions with the nominative

the nominative with the infinitive, e.g.

Tom was believed to have escaped disguised as a clown;

He is thought to be hiding in the woods;

He is supposed to be washing the car;

They are believed to have landed in America etc.

This construction is used after:

intransitive verbs: seem, appear, happen, chance, prove, turn out etc., e.g.

He seemed to be happy with his present;

They appeared to like their new house;

declarative verbs in the passive: say, declare, report, announce, assert, proclaim, pronounce, reveal, suppose, e.g.

The little boy was reported to be missing;

John Williams was declared to be guilty of murder;

NOTE: suppose in the passive can have two meanings, i.e. the passive meaning of the verb and obligation. Compare the following examples:

He is supposed to live in Paris (=we suppose that he lives in Paris) and

You are supposed to know the laws of your country (=it is your obligation to know the laws of your country);

She is supposed to finish her work soon (=we assume that she will finish her work soon OR she is obliged to finish her work soon, the meaning depending on the larger context)

after the link verb BE + likely/unlikely, sure, certain, e.g.

She is unlikely to arrive tonight;

He is likely to leave tomorrow;

He is sure to finish soon;

the nominative with the present participle, e.g.

They were caught stealing the apples;

She was found writing a letter etc.

In meaning this construction is very similar with the Nominative with the Accusative; the nominative with the present participle is frequent with verbs that can take the Accusative with the present participle (see, hear, notice, watch, feel, observe, find, leave, set, catch, send etc). It consists of subject + verb in the passive + present participle, e.g.

The girl was seen leaving the house;

The man was found dying;

The boy was caught stealing apples;

She was left crying.

the Absolute Nominative Construction Galateanu, Comisel, 1992: 199). The absolute nominative is used when the subject of the construction with the infinitive or participle (present or past) is different from the subject of the clause containing a predicative verb. The absolute nominative construction contains in its structure a noun in the nominative and an infinitive/present or past participle which is in predicative relation with the noun, e.g.

They forwarded the heavy equipment by sea, the perishables to be sent by air;

The original text being too difficult, he asked for a translation;

His hopes attained, he was perfectly happy.

NOTE: the subject of the Absolute Nominative Construction with the present participle may be anticipated by IT or THERE, e.g.

There being nothing to say, they sat looking at each other

This construction is used to contract adverbial clauses of time, cause, condition and they are infrequent in spoken language, but rather frequent in written English.

7. The genitive or the possessive case

The genitive, or more frequently called the case of possession, or the possessive case expresses a multitude of relations in English. There are two types of genitive in English, i.e. the synthetic genitive or Saxon genitive and the analytical one or prepositional as it is usually called. The uses of the two forms of the genitive are not exclusive; they are sometimes interchangeable although there are instances when only one can be used, the other form being, normally, unacceptable.

The synthetic genitive has survived from Old English and expresses a large number of relations in Modern English.

7.1. Form

The synthetic genitive is marked by an ¢s or only by a (¢ which is attached to the noun/noun equivalent representing the possessor and is followed by the object possessed; depending on the form of the noun it is attached to, one or the other of the specific endings is used, e.g.

possessor + the (¢s) inflection + object possessed is used when there is:

common nouns in the singular e.g. the child¢s book, my mother¢s watch; his son¢s name etc;

irregular plural nouns, e.g. the men¢s coats; the women¢s hairstyle; the children¢s parents etc;

names consisting of several words, e.g. Henry the Eighth¢s wife, the Prince of Wales¢s helicopter etc.

with compounds, the mark of the genitive being added after the last word, e.g. my brother-in-law¢s car, the editor-in-chief¢¢s authority etc;

with words consisting of initials, e.g. the PM¢s secretary, the VIP¢s escort etc.

A simple apostrophe (¢) is added after:

regular nouns in the plural, e.g. the boys¢ book, his parents¢ arrival, the wolves¢ habits etc.

classical names ending in -s usually add only an apostrophe(¢ , e.g. Archimedes¢ law, Sophocles¢ plays, Hercules¢ works, Pythagoras¢ theorem etc.

other names ending in -s can take either an ¢s or only an apostrophe (¢ , e.g. Mr. Jones¢ house or Mr. Jones¢s house; Yeats¢ poems or Yeats¢s poems etc.


the attributes of a noun in the genitive are not inflected, e.g. my sister Mary¢s new dress, his friend Peter¢s contribution to the paper.

the genitive of a group is marked only at the end, e.g.

John and Mary¢s apartment = John and Mary own the same apartment;

Mother and father¢s decision = mother and father made the same decision, while

when the object is own separately, the sign of the genitive is added to each of them, e.g.

John¢s and George¢s cousins = John¢s cousins + George¢s cousins;

The boy¢s and the girl¢s suits = the boy¢s suits + the girl¢s suits etc.

7. Uses of the synthetic/Saxon genitive

The synthetic genitive is used:

preferentially with several classes of nouns, although the prepositional construction can be sometimes used alternatively e.g. with common nouns denoting persons; it is not normal, however, to say *the son of the man when the man¢s son is easier and clearly renders the essence of the construction, i.e. the man has a son or that the son belongs to a man; so, we say the woman¢s daughter, the aunt¢s refusal, the teacher¢s trip to London, a rich man¢s car etc. The prepositional construction is preferred when the possessor is followed by a post determiner (an of-phrase, a relative clause etc.), e.g.

John is the son of the man who came to our house yesterday.

with proper nouns, names of persons, e.g. Jack¢s son, Henry¢s brother, Shakespeare¢s poems, Washington's fame, dr. Brown's surgery, my daughter's new dress etc.

with common or proper nouns denoting animals, e.g. the cat¢s bowl, the horse¢s shoe, Spot¢s tail etc.

with names of countries, especially when the speaker attaches

importance /affection to them (=personification), e.g.

England¢s sons have always fought for her freedom and welfare etc.

Europe's future depends on all its inhabitants.

Taiwan's economic developments has been astonishing lately.

with nouns denoting chronological divisions, measurements, distances, prices, weight, and the word ¢worth¢, e.g. a ten minutes¢ talk, a day¢s work, yesterday¢s newspaper, a ten minutes¢ talk, at ten miles¢ distance, ten pounds¢ worth of ice cream etc.

personifications of the nouns denoting vehicles and mechanical things, e.g. ships, trains, cars, airplanes: the ship¢s mast, the glider¢s wings, the train¢s heating system etc.

in phrases and idioms, e.g. a foot¢s difference, at a stone¢s throw, for heaven¢s sake, for goodness¢s sake, for charity's sake, journey¢s end, the water¢s edge, on a razor's edge, to one¢s heart¢s content, for mercy¢s sake, in the wind¢s eye, to a hair¢s breadth, for pity¢s sake, out of harm¢s way, at one¢s wit¢s end, at one¢s finger¢s end, the water's surface, at (an) arm's length, within arm's reach, etc. or

in a double genitive (a prepositional genitive and a synthetic one); the original sense of such structures was selective but in Modern English the meaning has extended considerably, e.g.

He was a friend of Smith¢s;

Have you read that book of John¢s? (slight derogatory attitude) etc.

The double genitive is important because it enables the speaker to make a difference in meaning between, e.g.

a picture of my mother (the picture showing my mother) and

a picture of my mother's (the picture belongs to my mother)

a painting of Rembrantd (a painting showing Rembrandt) and

a painting of Rembrantd's (one painted by him)

two synthetic genitives are sometimes possible, e.g.

That boy¢s friend¢s jacket is on the chair;

Tom¢s uncle¢s car is expensive;

Their friend¢s uncle¢s apartment;

Olivia¢s sister¢s hair is blonde etc.

in the implicit genitive: initially, this type of constructions contained a standard synthetic genitive which, for the sake of simplicity and in order to make the construction shorter (particularly in written media) has agglutinated to the word preceding it or the apostrophe (¢) marking the genitive has been dropped, e.g. the United Nations Organization < the United Nations¢ Organization, the Students Organization < the Students¢ Organization etc.

names of the owners of some businesses can take a synthetic genitive form, e.g. Sotheby¢s, Claridge¢s etc.; some very well-known shops call themselves by the possessive form and some drop the apostrophe (¢), e.g. Foyles, Harrods, Carmens etc.

Omission of the accompanying noun

When a noun has been mentioned previously or when it would be a word like house, office, church, shop, surgery etc. and particularly when the synthetic genitive is preceded by a preposition the head noun is usually left out and only the genitive is retained, e.g.

Is it your bicycle? No, it is my brother¢s. (the object was mentioned before, so there is no need to repeat it);

or    to go to the baker¢s (shop), to go to the doctor¢s (surgery), the entrance to Saint James¢ (church);

They are going to their uncle¢s (house);

Let¢s go to Ann¢s (house);

We bought it at the greengrocer¢s (shop) etc.

7.3. The analytical/prepositional genitive

It is an alternative form to the synthetic genitive; its form is object possessed + OF + possessor, e.g. the colour of the fence, the wall of the house, the roof of the house etc. This type of genitive is used:

when differences in meaning are involved, e.g. a picture of my mother = a picture representing my mother; a picture of my mother¢s = a picture belonging to my mother (it is irrelevant what is in the picture);

when a prepositional phrase or relative clause must be attached to the possessor and the use of the synthetic genitive would generate confusion, e.g. * This is the boy¢s book who came yesterday is incorrect because it means that ¢the book came yesterday¢, so This is the book of the boy who came yesterday is the only admissible form etc.

the prepositional form is preferred when the modifying noun phrase is long, e.g. the departure of the 4.30 train for London and not *the 4.30 train for London¢s departure which is at least confusing;

in a partitive genitive, e.g. a cloud of dust, a barrel of beer, a bottle of milk, a glass of water, a vase of flowers, a litre of oil, a game of cards, a pair of scissors, a pair of shoes, a pair of trousers etc.

the genitive of gradation which is a synonym of the absolute superlative, e.g. the book of books, the beauty of all beauties, the king of kings, the prince of princes etc.

NOTE: with inanimate possessors the prepositional genitive may be replaced by attributive constructions, e.g. the walls of the house = the house walls; the keys of the car = the car keys; the legs of the table = the table legs etc.

7.3. The dative case

The dative is the case which shows towards whom or towards what the action denoted by the verb is directed and syntactically, discharges the function of an indirect object. The dative is marked by the prepositions TO and FOR or by strict word order, e.g.

He gave the man a book = he gave a book to the man (the construction is used under certain conditions);

He made me a sandwich = he made a sandwich for me.

The preposition FOR is used when the action is made instead of somebody or in somebody¢ s benefit (see above).

The relative interrogative pronoun corresponding to the dative is WHO (the form WHOM- theoretically correct- is considered very formal and is never used in spoken language), e.g.

WHO does this car belong to? is perfectly acceptable in English today; the form with the preposition preceding WHOM is considered formal and rather old fashioned.

*To WHO(m) does this car belong ?

The preposition FOR is used with the following verbs: buy, choose, do, leave, make, order, reserve, spare, prescribe etc., e.g.

(1) Mother bought her/Mary a nice dress.

(2) Mother bought a pair of shoes for her/Mary.

(3) I made him a sandwich.

(4) I made the sandwich for Mary because she was busy packing.

NOTE: - forms 1 and 3 are commonly used, unless the direct object is long or is followed by a post determiner, a relative clause etc.

Sometimes verbs that usually take a TO indirect object may take a FOR indirect object provided the user is aware of the difference, e.g. I wrote a letter TO my mother (=for her to receive) and I wrote a letter FOR my mother (=presumably she has a broken arm and is not able to write the letter herself = instead of her)

The dative case is used:

after certain intransitive verbs that require a personal indirect object: come, happen, occur, propose, submit, surrender, yield etc., e.g.

He came to me/my mother;

It never happened to him to meet such a wonderful person;

It occurred to her that he might be just lying to her;

He proposed to her and he never thought that she would refuse him.

after transitive verbs (see page 58/1, 2, 3)

after certain nouns: attitude, cruelty, kindness, surprise etc. The indirect object is introduced by the preposition TO, e.g.

Her attitude to animals was surprising;

The warriors¢ cruelty to their prisoners was astounding;

It was a surprise to me that the police released the delinquent in a matter of hours

after certain adjectives that imply comparison: adequate, corresponding, equal, equivalent, similar, inferior, superior, e.g.

The result was not equal to his effort;

Man is superior to animals;

John¢s paper is very similar to Peter¢s;

7.3.1. The place of the direct and indirect objects

For the sake of simplicity, and in order to deal with this issue only once, we will consider the order of the direct object and indirect object at a time, in the following paragraphs.

When the objects are expressed by nouns, the preferred order is VERB+INDIRECT OBJECT + DIRECT OBJECT, e.g. I gave John/my friend/the man a book. However, if the user wants to adds a determiner after the direct object, the two objects switch places and the indirect object is introduced by the preposition TO/FOR, e.g. I gave a book to the man in blue/who came yesterday/you met two days ago.

Direct and indirect objects expressed by nouns and/or pronouns - table of compatibilities:

I gave the man a book.

I gave a book to the man (in blue).

*I gave him it (unacceptable).

I gave it to him.

*I gave the man it (unacceptable).

I gave it to the man.

When the direct object is expressed by a pronoun form, the direct object must come immediately after the verb and the indirect object is introduced on the second position by the preposition TO/FOR. According to the place of the direct and indirect objects, verbs fall into 3 main classes:

1) of the type GIVE: deny, hand, lend, offer, pay, read, tell, throw, write, that can be followed by the direct and indirect objects in either order, depending only on other constraints, e.g.

I lent John a lot of money;

I lent a lot of money to one of your best friends

or They offered me a well-paid job;

They offered a well-paid job to one of the immigrants who passed the job interview.

2) of the type ASK (some are double transitive verbs): cost, save, charge, wish etc. that require the person object (if there is one) on the first position, immediately after the verb, e.g.

I asked (John/them) a lot of questions;

*I asked a question to John (unacceptable)

They charged (us) a lot;

It cost (them/my parents) a fortune.

3) of the type EXPLAIN: address, announce, communicate, describe, introduce mention, relate, repeat etc. that require the indirect object to be introduced by a preposition, whether it comes after the direct object or not, e.g.

The teacher explained (the lesson/it) to his students;

*The teacher explained his students the lesson (unacceptable)

She introduced him to her parents;

She addressed the letter/it to her mother.

7.4. The accusative case

The accusative is the case of the direct object and its place in a sentence is after a transitive verb; for the place of the direct object see the explanations under the dative case, section 7.3.1. The accusative is unmarked in English and can be identified according to its place or prepositions, other than TO/FOR; The boy (subject) saw the girl (direct object); if we switch the two nouns in this sentence and say The girl (subject) saw the boy (object), the meaning is reversed; the noun or noun equivalent that is on the right hand side of the verb is the direct object, while the noun/noun equivalent that precedes the verb is the subject. Or They were walking through the forest (prepositional object).

There are double transitive verbs that can be used with two direct objects, e.g. ask, envy, excuse, forgive, save, strike etc. Examples:

She asked him several questions;

They envy me my beautiful garden;

They saved me a lot of trouble.

The accusative is used:

after transitive verbs: drink, eat, meet, need, plant, seek etc., e.g.

She drinks a coffee every day;

We ate the cake with pleasure;

We met them at the station;

He needs love;

They planted some fruit trees;

the accusative of content is an accusative akin to the verb which the former accompanies; usually an intransitive verb is used as a transitive one in these combinations, e.g. to dream a nice dream, to smile a broad smile, to live a miserable life, to laugh a loud laugh, to die a heroic death, to fight a just fight, to weep bitter tears, to smell sweet smell etc.

They lived a miserable life in spite of their hard work.

My parents died in WW 2 but they were strongly convinced that they were fighting a just fight for the liberation of their country.

The child was smiling in his sleep and the mother was convinced that he was dreaming a beautiful dream.

after prepositions other than TO/FOR, e.g.

She is looking at John/at me;

I left the book with the secretary;

She put her bag on the chair.

The direct object can be expressed by:

a noun/pronoun (see under dative the table of compatibilities).

According to (Galateanu Farnoaga, Comisel, 1992: 185) the direct object can also be expressed by:

a non-significant IT - certain intransitive verbs can be followed by IT as a formal direct object, e.g. to lord it - a o face pe stapanul, to carry it - a invinge, to catch it - a o pati; a o incasa, to foot it - a merge pe jos, to rough it - a face fata, a se descurca, e.g.

The explorers had to rough it when they got into the jungle;

John is a nice person but sometimes he likes to lord it.

a compulsory reflexive pronoun: to behave oneself, to calm oneself, to comb oneself, to enjoy oneself, to excuse oneself, to help oneself, to lose oneself, to wash oneself etc. When used in a sentence the pronoun ONESELF must be replaced by the corresponding form of the reflexive pronoun, myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves, e.g.

Children should behave themselves when they are with grownups;

Peter had a huge birthday party and I was also invited; I enjoyed myself tremendously;

John lost himself in Paris;

We washed ourselves and then left.

There are verbs that can take both a reflexive pronoun and a noun/personal pronoun in the accusative, BUT the meanings are different: to wash oneself/somebody, to hurt oneself/somebody, to dress oneself/somebody, to comb oneself/somebody, to shave oneself/ somebody, to hide oneself/somebody, e.g.

She washed herself and put on her nicest dress

She washed her (=her daughter) and dressed her

He hurt himself while (he was) repairing the car

He hurt him (=his friend) unintentionally in the heat of the game

Mother dressed herself and left in a minute

Mother dressed her(=her daughter) and put her on the school bus

reciprocal pronouns: each other, one another, e.g.

They helped each other;

The children helped one another;

They hit each other before anyone could stop them.

7.4.1. Constructions with the accusative The accusative with the infinitive

The accusative with the infinitive is an extremely useful construction as it keeps the structure short while communicating a lot; e.g. in the structure

I want (V1) to go (V2)

both verbs refer to the same subject; if a noun/pronoun/noun equivalent in the accusative is introduced between V1 and V2, the meaning changes, i.e. the predicate refers to its subject while V2 refers to the accusative form

I want (V1) you/John/ (accusative) to go (V2)

means that I want that somebody else (i.e. you or John) to do the second action, i.e. to go.

A detailed classification of the most frequently used verbs as V1 in this construction is possible (Galateanu Farnoaga, Comisel, 1992: 195-196).

Verbs (V1) that take the accusative with a LONG infinitive:

verbs expressing mental activities: think, know, consider, expect, suppose, believe, imagine, fancy, understand etc, e.g.

They know him to be very good at maths;

We expected them to come yesterday;

Mary supposed her brother to be married;

verbs expressing desire or intention: want, wish, desire, intend, mean etc., e.g.

We wanted them to stay overnight;

They wished Paul to leave immediately;

Do you mean him to leave or stay?

verbs expressing feelings: like, dislike, love, hate, prefer etc., e.g.

I¢d like him/John to come at once;

He¢d love his son to become an artist;

I hate you to be troubled/disturbed when you work;

verbs expressing an order or permission: command, order, request, allow, compel, force etc. e.g.

The mother allowed her son/him to go to the disco with friends;

They requested us to fill in the forms;

The police forced the thief to surrender;

with declarative verbs: declare, pronounce, report (with an animate subject), e.g.

They declared him/John to be good for the job;

The president reported them to be fit to do the work

some prepositional verbs: count on, depend on, wait for, hope for etc., e.g.

They waited for the weather to change;

She depended on him/her former husband to pay the taxes for their children

Verbs (V1) that take an accusative with a SHORT infinitive:

verbs of the senses: see, hear, watch, feel, notice, perceive, observe etc. e.g.

Has any of you seen John take the book?

Did you watch the children play tennis yesterday?

Last night I heard him come home late, unlock the door and enter the hall.

causative verbs: cause, make, have, get, induce and let, e.g.

What made you think he was wrong?

They did not let him come before noon;

I had him repair his bicycle on the terrace;

The passive form of the accusative with the infinitive construction ALWAYS requires a long infinitive as V2, with all types of V1, except LET which takes a V2 in the short infinitive, e.g.

They were reported to be in London already;

The students were allowed to leave sooner than usual;

They were seen to take the plane;

We were heard to open the door;

John was noticed to steal from the supermarket; BUT

They were let go

Let cannot normally be used in passive sentences. Instead be allowed (with a to-infinitive), or another verb or phrase with the same meaning is used, e.g.

They were allowed to go;

Nobody had permission to park their car next to the president's residence

Another use of the accusative with the infinitive is after adjectives and nouns. The two prepositions used are TO and FOR + adjective (see under ²constructions with the adjectives² ); it + be + adjective/noun + FOR/TO + object + Infinitive.

Adjectives frequently used in this construction: unusual, lovely, interesting, marvellous, nice, wonderful, ridiculous etc., e.g.

It is unusual (for him) to come home so early;

It was marvellous (for the kids) to have a new bicycle to ride;

Nouns: madness, stupidity, disaster, accident, etc., e.g.

It was a disaster for us to have to leave so soon;

It was an accident for him to cross the street without making sure the traffic lights were green;

7.4.1. The accusative with the present participle

This construction is chiefly used with verbs of the senses as V1 and the verbs find, leave, set, catch, send. The verbs of the senses can be followed by a present participle as an alternative of the infinitive; the meaning then changes, i.e. the accusative with the infinitive states that the speaker has seen the whole action expressed by the infinitive, while the construction with the present participle suggests that the speaker has seen only part of the action expressed by the participle e.g.

I saw him cross the street (=I saw the entire action of the crossing of the street)

I saw him crossing the street (=I saw only part of the action and I only assume that the rest was also performed)

In most instances the above difference is irrelevant, but in others it may be very important. Students are advised to use the construction with the present participle when in doubt.

With the verbs find, leave, set, catch, send only the present participle can be used as V2, so no confusion can appear, e.g.

We found him washing his car;

Mary left her son writing his homework;

They caught her stealing apples from the neighbours;

NOTE: only the verb catch used as V1 expresses an action that should not have been done by the subject. The accusative with the past participle

This construction observes the following pattern: subject + predicate + noun/ pronoun/ noun equivalent in the accusative + past participle. The general meaning is an action that refers to the accusative. It is used mainly with:

verbs of the senses: see, hear, feel, notice, watch, observe etc., e.g.

She saw her car parked near the house;

They heard their names called by the teacher;

They felt their clothes ripped off by the strong wind;

verbs expressing an order: order, command, charge, compel, decree, demand, direct, enjoin, instruct, ordain, prescribe, request, require etc., e.g.

The captain ordered the trench finished in 2 hours;

The professor requested the paper concluded the following day;

The authorities required the place evacuated immediately;

the causative verbs HAVE and GET (=to have/get something done). The meaning is ²to employ someone to do something for the subject², e.g.

She had her hair cut (=she employed someone to cut her hair);

We have our house cleaned/done every week (=we employ someone to clean/to do the house for us every week);

He had his car repaired (=he employed someone to repair the car for him);

GET used instead of HAVE is more colloquial.

HAVE/GET + object + past participle construction can also be used colloquially to replace a passive verb, usually one concerning some accident or misfortune (Thomson, Martinet, 1997: 122 B), e.g.

He had/got his fruit stolen before he had a chance to pick it (=His fruit was stolen before he had a chance to pick it).

He had/got two of his teeth knocked out in the fight (=Two of his teeth were knocked out in the fight).

Politica de confidentialitate

Copyright © 2024 - Toate drepturile rezervate