6.1. General characteristics

6.1.1. Lexico-grammatical classification of verbs the verb is a grammatical class of words denoting situations and establishing the relation between the situation reported and the extralinguistic reality. Therefore, the verb is central in expressing the predicative function of the sentence.

The class of verbs falls into several subclasses distinguished by different lexico-grammatical features: 

Verbs of full nominative value (notional verbs) – denote situations that are presented dynamically (developing in time).

Verbs of partial nominative value - are characterized by various relational properties. They serve as markers of predication, establishing the connection between the nominative content of the sentence and reality.

Auxiliary verbs – can be further subdivided into primary auxiliaries and modal auxiliaries.

1. Primary auxiliaries – are employed in constituting analytical grammatical forms of notional verbs:
  • be + - ing participle – progressive aspect form
  • have + - ed2 participle – perfect aspect form
  • be + - ed2 participle – passive voice form
  • do + infinitive – interrogative and negative of the simple forms

2. Modal auxiliaries – combine with various infinitive form of notional verbs to constitute verb phrases. Such phrases function as compound verbal modal predicate: e.g. I can swim.

Auxiliary verbs express negation by attaching the negative particle not: e.g. You needn’t get up early tomorrow. (negation)

Auxiliary verbs occupy the position immediately before the subject in structures involving inversion: e.g. Must I attend the lecture? (inversion)

To the subclass of modal auxiliaries belong: must, may, can, might, could, shall, should, will, would, ought, dare, need.

Catenative verbs - denoting a verb that governs a nonfinite form of another verb, for example, like in I like swimming. Combine with non-finite forms of notional verbs to constitute verb phrases. Such phrases function as compound verbal predicate of phrasal or causative nature:
e.g. It began raining
e.g. The boy made his father play football with him.

To this subclass belong: begin, start, finish, stop, go on, keep, make, have, etc.

Link verbs – combine with adjectives or nouns to constitute compound nominal predicates:
e.g. She is beautiful.
e.g. He became a dentist.
e.g. She seems unhappy.
e.g. He looks smart.

Semantically, link verbs can be subdivided into verbs of being (be, seem, look, sound…) and verbs of becoming (become, turn, grow, get).

Verbs have two types of grammatical forms: finite and non-finite:

1. The finite verb forms – can express the grammatical categories of tense, mood, person, number, aspect and voice

2. The non-finite verb forms – can express the grammatical categories of aspect and voice.
In spite of the fact that finite and non-finite verb forms express different grammatical meanings, they do not differ in their lexical meanings.

6.1.2. Semantic classification of full verbs – full verbs denote verbal situations. We can distinguish three types of verbal situation: state, event and action (Jackson H., 1990).

Verbs of STATE – can be further subdivided into verbs of:
1. Quality – these denote permanent characteristics of the referent of their subject:
e.g. She is blonde.; She’s got blonde hair.
2. Temporary state – these denote temporary characteristics of the referent of their subject:
e.g. He was very happy.
3. Private state – here belong verbs denoting intellectual state (know, understand); emotion or attitude (like, hate, regard); perception (see, hear); bodily sensation (ache, itch).
Verbs of this type refer to states of mind and feeling of the referent of the subject:
e.g. I know this man.; I like apples.; I see skies of blue.; My back aches.
4. Stance – they denote the position of someone or something in space: e.g. She was sitting by the fire.

Verbs of EVENT – refer to situations take place without an agent or an instigator. The referent of the subject is involved in the verbal situation involuntarily:
e.g. He fell to the floor.
e.g. The sun set beyond the horizon.

Four types of event can be distinguished on the basis of two distinctive features – “change of state” and “duration”. These types can be labeled in the following way:
- goings-on (+durative; - change); e.g. It is raining
- process (+ durative; + change); e.g. She grew pale
- momentary event (- durative; - change); e.g. The latch clicked in the darkness.
- transitional event (- durative; + change). e.g. She turned pale.

Verbs of ACTION – refer to situations that are performed by animate agents or else are caused by animate instigators. Actions are voluntary and intentional. Four types of action can be distinguish on the basis of two distinctive features – “change of state” and “duration”. These types can be labeled in the following way:
- activity (+ durative, - change); e.g. They are playing tennis.
- accomplishment (+ durative, + change); e.g. He nodded in agreement.
- momentary act (- durative, - change); e.g. She ran away.
- transitional act (- durative, + change). e.g. He went out.

A verb may denote several meanings belonging to different semantic types:
e.g. They could see the crowd in front of the gates. (state)
e.g. They saw the New Year in together. (action)
e.g. The moon went out of sight. (event)
e.g. They went out for dinner. (action)

The semantic classification is grammatically relevant – the situation type to which a verb refers determines its grammatical features as well as the semantic roles related to the situation:
1. Verbs of state cannot be used in the progressive since STATES do not develop in time;
2. Verbs of quality and verbs of event cannot be used in the passive – since there is no agent involved in the situation;
3. Verbs of momentary event and momentary act – denote series of similar momentary situations, when used in the progressive
e.g. The door was banging in the wind.
e.g. The boy was kicking the ball against the wall.
4. Transitional events and transitional acts cannot be used in the progressive – since such situations are not of durative nature

6.3.1. Word-building patterns – verb stems may be:

Simple stems– such stems contain only one root morpheme: e.g. go, speak, do
A large number of simple-stem verbs result from conversion of the “noun-verb” type:
e.g. a man – to man a factory;
e.g. a house – This building houses the Art Gallery and the Natural History Museum.

Sound–replacive stems – the difference between the noun and the verb is in the root vowel:
e.g. food – to feed:
e.g. blood – to bleed.

Stress-replacive stems – the difference between the noun and the verb is in the stress pattern: e.g. import – to import

Derived stems – these are stems that contain some affix apart from the root morpheme.
- Verb-deriving suffixes are: - en (deepen); - ify (classify); - ize (apologize); - ate (congratulate).
- Verb-deriving prefixes are: be- (bewilder); en- (encircle); mis- (misunderstand); sub- (submerge); un- (undress); under- (undertake); out – (outgrow); over- (overtake); re- (retranslate), etc.

Compound stems – contain two root morphemes: e.g. blackmail

Phrasal  - two types of phrasal verb can be distinguished:
- verb + particle/preposition: e.g. eat up
- verb + noun: e.g. take a walk, give a mile, have a look

6.1.4. Grammatical paradigms

Finite verb forms express the categories of tense, aspect, voice in the Indicative Mood [ a category or form that indicates whether a verb expresses fact (indicative mood), command (imperative mood), question (interrogative mood), wish (optative mood), or conditionality (subjunctive mood) ].

The paradigm of the finite verb comprises the following forms:

Present simple
speak, speaks
Present simple
Is/are spoken
Present progressive
am/are/is speaking
Present progressive
Is/are being spoken
Present perfect
has/have spoken
Present perfect
Has/have been spoken
Present perfect progressive
has/have been speaking
Past simple
Was/were spoken
Past simple
Past progressive
Was/were being spoken
Past progressive
was/were speaking
Past perfect
Had been spoken
Past perfect
had spoken

Past perfect progressive
had been speaking

Non – finite verb forms – English has four types of non-finite verb forms: infinitive, - ing participle, - ed participle, gerund
The infinitive, the – ing participle and the gerund express the verbal categories of aspect and voice. 

Their grammatical paradigms comprise different number of forms:

- ing participle
to speak
to be spoken
being spoken
to be speaking
to be speaking
having spoken
having been spoken
to have spoken
to have been spoken

Perfect progressive
to have been speaking
Perfect progressive
To have been being spoken

- ed participle
This participle does not express any of the verbal categories. It has only one form: spoken
The paradigm of the gerund coincides formally with the paradigm of the – ing participle

6.1.5. Syntactic functions

Finite verb forms and phrases – the only function of the finite verb forms and phrases is that of predicate (the part of a sentence or clause containing a verb and stating something about the subject - e.g., went home in John went home):
e.g. He runs fast.
e.g. They have never been to Italy.
e.g. They must have arrived by now.

Non-finite verb forms – non-finite verb forms do not express the categories of mood, tense, person and number – the basic features of predication. That is why they cannot function as Predicate. 

But they can perform various other syntactic functions:

e.g. To meet so many people will probably make me feel tired.
e.g. Meeting many people always makes me feel tired.
e.g. I want to break free.
e.g. I like going to the theatre.
e.g. To see is to believe.; e.g. Seeing is believing.
e.g. The vegetables were canned not fresh.; e.g. She was amazing.
Noun modifier
e.g. They are at the Learning centre.; e.g. This is my sister-in-law to be.
e.g. It was a badly written letter.; e.g. There was a bird singing in the bush.

Non-finite verb forms constitute various nexus constructions. A nexus consists of two parts – verbal and nominal. The verbal part is a non-finite form. The nominal part denotes the morphological subject of the non-finite verb. The two parts constitute a unit, i.e. they function together. Several types of nexus construction can be distinguished:

1. Complex object:
e.g. I sit and watch the children play.
e.g. I found them playing cards.
e.g. I liked Tom’s playing the guitar by the river.

2. Subjective infinitive/participle:
e.g. He was heard to say that.
e.g. He was heard singing that song.
This type of structure is the passive counterpart of the complex object structure.

3. Absolute construction: this construction either denoes attendant circumstances or stands in cause-and-consequence relation to the main sentence.
e.g. She was sleeping in the arm-chair, the cat purring by her side.
e.g. He had to get back home, with all his money gone.
e.g. They both left the place, each never to return.

6.2. Modality

Modality is a functional semantic category denoting the relation between the verbal situation reported in the sentence and the extralinguistic reality, as represented by the speaker.
Modality can be expressed by three types of means:
1. Lexical – modal adverbs such as perhaps, probably, may be, certainly, etc.
2. Syntactic – modal verb phrases that include modal auxiliaries: may, can, must, etc.
3. Morphological – the verbal category of mood.

Speakers often employ combination of lexical and syntactical means:
e.g. I will certainly help you.
e.g. I shall probably miss the train

6.2.1. Modal verb phrases

General characteristics – modal verb phrases consist of a modal verb and some form of the infinitive of a full verb. Perfect infinitives denote past situations:
e.g. They must have arrived by now.

Positive forms sometimes refer to situations that did not take place; negative forms may refer to situations that took place.
Progressive infinitive forms denote situations referring to the moment of speaking:
e.g. He must be working in the studio.

Simple infinitive forms denote non-past verbal situations, depending on the lexical meaning of the verbal lexeme:
e.g. She must be in the studio. (present time reference)
e.g. She may come to the party. (future time reference)

Formally, modal verbs are defective – they lack most of the grammatical forms of the full verbs: need, ought, must, dare have only one form; can, may, will, shall have two forms – present and past.

Semantically, modal verbs may express two basic types of modality – deonic and epistemic:

1. Deontic modality – is a microfield of modal meaning presenting the situation as imposed on reality by the speaker:
e.g. You must read the book by the end of the week. (obligation)
e.g. You shouldn’t say this to her. (advice)
e.g. You may go to the disco tonight. (permission)
e.g. He should do as I say. (insistence)
e.g. I will help you with the luggage. (promise)

2. Epistemic modality – is a microfield of modal meanings presenting the speaker’s interpretation of the relation between the reported situation and the extralinguistic reality:
e.g. He must be a doctor. (certainly)
e.g. This should be prof. Williams. (probability)
e.g. You can buy a toothbrush at the chemist’s. (possibility)
e.g. We shall be there on time. (prediction)
e.g. They will come back soon. (prediction)

Most of the modal verbs are polysemantic:
e.g. I can use a computer. (ability)
e.g. You can see the film tonight. (possibility)
e.g. Can you buy some juice, please? (request)

The present and past forms of some modal verbs denote different modal meanings:
e.g. You shall do as I say. (insistence)
e.g. You should ask permission for the parade. (advice)

Could, might and would differ from can, may and will in the degree of politeness:
e.g. Can I ask you a question?
e.g. Could I ask you a question?

Some modal verbs express different meanings in their positive, negative and interrogative form:
e.g. You may meet them while you are in London. (possibility)
e.g. May I use the computer tomorrow? (permission)
e.g. You may not go to the disco tonight. (prohibition)

Modal meanings – each modal meaning within the two microfields of modality (deontic and epistemic) can be expressed by several modal verbs, each having specific connotations (an idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its literal or primary meaning):

1. Obligation and necessity – these two related meanings can be expressed by must, need, have to, be to, shall (second and third person):

- Must - denotes an obligation imposed on the subject by the speaker:
e.g. You must learn these rules of grammar.
e.g. He must be in bed by 10 o’clock.

With reference to first person subjects must denotes strong determination:
e.g. I must go on a diet.
e.g. We must not be late, must we?

Must in combination with negative forms of the infinitive denotes an obligation not to act (usually originating from some institution):
e.g. Cars must not be parked in front of the entrance.
e.g. Passengers mustn’t lean out of window.

- Need and have to – denote necessity, which is due to circumstances:
e.g. Need you go yet?
e.g. A friend is coming for dinner. I have to prepare the meal.

The negative form of need implies that there is no necessity for the subject to perform the action denoted by the full verb. Needn’t is often used as the negative counterpart of must:
e.g. Must I attend his lecture? No, you needn’t.

- Be to – denotes an obligation which is due to some prearrangement:
e.g. Professor Harris is visiting us next week. I am meet him at the airport.

- Shall – is used to express obligations in formal style and in archaic style:
e.g. You shall say no more!

2. Moral duty – this meaning can be expressed by ought and should.

- Ought – may denote the connotations of desirability or advisability. Ought implies future time reference:
e.g. You ought to start at once.
e.g. Such things ought not to be allowed.

In combination with the progressive infinitive ought has present time reference:
e.g. He ought to be studying for the exam.

Ought + perfect infinitive has past time reference:
e.g. You ought to have married her.
e.g. You oughtn’t to have said this to her.

- Should – is used in questions:
 e.g. Should he marry her?

Should has present or future time reference:
e.g. You shouldn’t be discussing this problem with her. (present)
e.g. You should discuss the problem with your colleagues. (future)

3. Advice, recommendation, reproach – these three related meanings are indicated by should, might and had better.

- Should – is used to express what is advisable. It has non-past time reference:
e.g. You should read these novels in the original.
e.g. You should drink your coffee while it is hot.

In combination with perfect infinitive forms of full verbs should has past time reference. The phrase expresses the speaker’s assessment of a past situation:
e.g. You should have taken the medicine as prescribed by the doctor.

- Might – denotes reproach:
e.g. You might have helped me with the housework.
e.g. You might be more active in class.

Might can be used with present time reference to express requests.
e.g. You might do me a favour.

- Had better – expresses recommendation. It is used with nonpast reference:
e.g. You had better take a taxi.

When used with reference to the first person, this phrase expresses the speaker’s opinion of what is useful in a particular situation:
e.g. I had better go now.
e.g. We had better postpone the meeting.

4. Permission – this modal meaning can be expressed by:

- May and can - in affirmative sentences these verbs denote “giving permission”. In interrogative sentence they denote “asking permission”.
e.g. May I come in?
e.g. You may use my computer.
e.g. Can I borrow your pen?
e.g. You can smoke in here.

- Might and could are used in interrogative sentences to imply greater politeness:
e.g. Might I join you?
e.g. Could I borrow your pen?

5. Prohibition

- May and can - express prohibition in negative sentences:
e.g. You may not smoke in my office.
e.g. You can’t go out tonight.

Such modal phrases have non-past time reference.

- Must – in negative sentence expresses prohibition connected with an institution:
e.g. Visitors must not feed the animals.

6. Conclusion – this semantic field can be subdivided into “certainty” and “probability”. Several modal verbs can be used to denote conclusions of various degrees of certainty.

- Must and may – can be used in positive sentences.
  • Must – expresses certainty: e.g. They must be doing a test. (present time reference). e.g. You must have known the requirements. (past time reference)
  • May – is used to express probability in positive and in negative sentences: e.g. That may or may not be true. e.g. She might have known the requirements.

- Can – expresses certainty in negative sentences.
e.g. She can’t be his daughter.
e.g. It couldn’t have been his daughter.

- Might and could – imply vaguer probability than may and can:
e.g. She may have missed the train.
e.g. She might have missed the train.
e.g. They can have been delayed by fog.
e.g. A lion escaped from the zoo yesterday – he could be anywhere by now.

- Will and would – express probability or likelihood:
e.g. This will be the book you are looking for.
e.g. I want somebody to help me with the worl in the office. Will/Would I do?

7. Possibility – this modal meaning can be expressed by the auxiliaries may, can and be to.

- May – always implies positive presumption:
e.g. They may be still at home.
e.g. They may not be at home yet.

- Can – is used in positive, negative and interrogative sentences:
e.g. It can be very cold here, even in May.
e.g. This can’t be true.
e.g. What can we do about it?

- Might and could – in combination with simple infinitive forms of full verbs denote vaguer positiveness with reference to non-past situations:
e.g. They might be in Edinburgh today.
e.g. He could give you a lift.

- Be to – implies likelihood:
e.g. Where is the tiger to be found?
e.g. Becky was nowhere to be seen.

8. Ability – this modal meaning is associated with action. It can be expressed by can, or its substitutes be able to, manage to, succeed in.

- Can – is used in positive, negative and interrogative sentences with present time reference:
e.g. She can speak Italian fluently.
e.g. She can’t use a computer.
e.g. Can she use a tablet?

- Could – refers to ability or inability in the past:
e.g. She could read Latin when she was 10.
e.g. After that I couldn’t trust him any more.

- Was/Were able to, managed to, succeeded in – are used to denote isolated achievements in past time:
e.g. When the boat upset, they managed to swim to the bank.
e.g. I took a taxi, so I was able to get to the station on time.
e.g. She worked hard and succeeded in passing the examination.

- Couldn’t – is used to indicate failure:
e.g. I couldn’t get to the station on time.

- Can/could – is used with verbs of sense perception to refer to specific occasions:
e.g. I can’t see any ship in the sea.
e.g. I couldn’t see anything in the dark.
e.g. Can you see the date on the stamp
e.g. I could smell something burning.

Could - is used as the past tense of can when it means that someone had the ability to do something or that something was possible:
e.g. New York was a place where anyone could start a business.

Can – is used when planning about the near future:
e.g. We can go swimming tomorrow.

- Be able to – is used to denote ability in analytical forms or in phrases with auxiliaries:
e.g. He hasn’t been able to sleep well.
e.g. I used to be able to play tennis well.
e.g. She will be able to relax in the mountains.

9. Volition – this modal meaning is associated with requests and invitations. It is expressed by can/could and will/would:
e.g. Can you pass the juice, please?
e.g. Could your bring me an ice cream, please?
e.g. Will you pass the juice, please?
e.g. Would you pass the juice, please?
e.g. Will you dine with me?

10. Willingness – This modal meaning is associated with refusals. It is expressed by won’t and wouldn’t:
e.g. The doctor knows that I won’t be operated on.
e.g. He was wet, but he wouldn’t change.

11. Insistence

- Will – denotes insistence or determination of the subject to perform some action:
e.g. “Damn it!” He thought, “I will make money”
e.g. He will have his own way.

- Shall – denotes insistence of the speaker on the subject’s performing some action:
e.g. He says he won’t go but I say he shall.

12. Impudence – this meaning is expressed by dare:
e.g. I dare not speak to him

6.2.2. Mood - the verbal category of mood is a morphological means of expressing modality. English verbs distinguish three mood forms, those of the Indicative, the Imperative and the Subjunctive.

The Indicative – indicative mood forms represent the verbal situation reported in the sentence as part of reality. Indicative mood forms are marked for the categories of tense, person, number, aspect and voice. The true value of the statement does not affect the grammatical meaning of the verb form:
e.g. She teaches Spanish.
e.g. She doesn’t tech Italian.
“teaches” – indicative: present tense, active voice, non-progressive, non-perfect, 3-rd person, singular
e.g. The students are doing a test.
“are doing” – indicative: present tense, progressive, non-perfect, active voice, plural.

The Imperative – imperative mood forms represent the verbal situation reported in the sentence as imposed by the speaker upon the extralinguistic reality. Imperative mood forms coincide with the stem of the verb.
They can be used to express commands and requests. Commands and requests are addressed to the second person. The imperative mood forms assign the addressee to perform the situation denoted:
e.g. Calm yourself!
e.g. Take a seat!

Markers of politeness can be used in sentences with imperative mood forms, such as please, will you, won’t you:
e.g. Take a seat, please!
e.g. Open the window, will you!
e.g. Won’t you sit down?

Commands or invitations addressed to first person or third person subjects are paraphrased by means of the verb let:
e.g. Let us go now.
e.g. Let me show you on the map.
e.g. Let him do it.

The negative form of let employs the auxiliary verb do:
e.g. I didn’t like lamb. Don’t let us have it again!

The Subjunctive – in contemporary English two forms of the Subjunctive are used.
One of these forms coincides with the stem of the verb:
e.g. Success attend you!
e.g. God save the Queen!

Such simple sentences express wish or desire of the speaker. They can be treated as linguistic formulae.

Subjunctive mood forms occur in subordinate clauses, too. In such structures, the governing word in the main sentence implies desire, suggestion, arrangement, necessity or some other meaning within the modal field of “irrealis”. The governing word may be:
- a noun – e.g. I see no reason why she be absent from this meeting.
- a verb – e.g. They agreed that the ceremony need be formal.
- an adjective – e.g. It is necessary that we obtain permission for the football match.
- a conjunction – e.g. He ran away lest he be seen.

6.3. Tense

6.3.1. Defining the category – tense is a grammatical category of the finite verb forms which locates the verbal situation in time with reference to a “tense locus”, usually the moment of speaking in simple sentences or the time of the situation denoted in the main clause of a complex sentence:
e.g. I got up at 6 this morning.
e.g. His mother said he had gone out.

In English, the category of tense is based on the functional opposition of two sets of forms: past and non-past. According to the grammatical marker of the past, English verbs fall into two types: regular and irregular.

Regular verbs employ the grammatical ending - ed   
e.g. She looked through the magazine and placed it back on the shelf.
Irregular verbs retain their tense forms of previous periods of the language development.
e.g. I woke up at night and got out of bed.

The past tense form is always used with past time reference. e.g. She spoke to him with affection.

The non-past tense form may be used with present, future or past time reference:
e.g. She speaks English fluently. (present).
e.g. The show begins at 6 on the river. (future)
e.g. I turned left at the crossroads and who should I see but Ann. (past).

English verbs have no special morphological form for the expression of future time reference.
6.3.2. Meanings of the past tense form – the past tense form locates the verbal situation reported in a period of time before the moment of speaking.

The past period or moment of time is usually specified in the sentence by means of an adverbial modifier of time:
e.g. She visited us in July.
e.g. He went to Spain two years ago.

The past moment or period of time may remain unspecified:
e.g. He taught German for three years.

The grammatical meaning of the past simple form depends on the lexical meaning of the verb.

Verbs of non-state

1. The past simple forms of durative verbs (denoting continuing action) – usually denote a situation, which took place over a period of time:
e.g. He lived in Spain in his youth.
e.g. He worked for the Government in 1993.

2. The past simple form of non-durative verbs – may denote:
- a single/momentary action or event
e.g. He closed the door and botled it.
- a succession of similar situations repeated over a past period of time – an adverbial modifier of frequency confirms this interpretation:
e.g. He sent a postcard home every weekend.
e.g. It often rained in June.

Without the adverbial modifier of frequency the meaning of the past simple form will be interpreted as a single/momentary action or event:
e.g. He sent a postcard home
e.g. It rained last night.

Verbs of state

1. The past simple form of verbs of quality – denotes a situation over a past period of time; the period can be explicitly stated.
e.g. She had dark hair and blue eyes. (when we first met)

2. The past simple form of verbs of temporal state – refer to situations in a past period of time (of various duration).
e.g. She was very happy at school.
e.g. She was certain about the times of departure.
e.g. At that moment he felt very sorry for her.

3. The past simple form of verbs of private state can denote:
- momentary state – here belong verbs of sense perception: e.g. I saw him at the corner.
- permanent state – here belong verbs of intellectual state: e.g. I know him quite well.
- temporary state of various duration – here belong verbs of bodily sensation and of emotion/attitude:
e.g. His leg hurt all day long.
e.g. She liked the meal very much.

4. The past tense forms of verbs of stance – denote temporary situations of various duration:
e.g. She was abroad at the time.
e.g. She was abroad for a week.
e.g. She was abroad during the academic year

6.3.3. Meanings of the present tense form – the basic temporal meaning of the present simple form is that of present time reference.

Verbs of non-state

1. The present tense form of verbs of non-state – denotes situations occurring over a period of time of various duration. Such situations can be divided into several groups:
-  recurrent situations – sentences with such verbs usually include adverbial modifiers of frequency: e.g. It often snows in January.
- habitual action: e.g. He drives to work.
- habitual event – e.g. Rivers run dry in summer.
- typical feature of the subject – e.g. They live in Naples.; Greece is an European country.
- innate feature of the subject – e.g. Oil floats on water.
- ability of the subject – e.g. He plays tennis very well.; She speaks Japanese.
- generalized statement – it never rains but it pours.; Any fool knows that!
- instructions and directions – e.g. How do I get to the station?

2. The present tense form of verbs of non-state – denotes situations coinciding with the moment of speaking. Such situations can be divided into the following groups:
- sports commentaries: e.g. He shoots the ball straight at the goalkeeper.
- cases in which the situation reported and the act of speech are simultaneous because they are identical: e.g. I swear on my life I was never at that place.
- exclamations – e.g. Her they come !
- demonstrations – e.g. I click “save” and close the document.
- stage directions – e.g. … enters an elf …

Verbs of state

1. Private state  

the present simple form of verbs of sense perception denotes permanent feature of the subject: e.g. I don’t see well.
Such forms may have figurative meaning: e.g. I see (= I understand.)

The present simple form of verbs of bodily sensation denotes situations taking place at the moment of speaking: e.g. Ouch ! That really hurts !

The present simple form of verbs of emotion and attitude denote permanent feature of the subject: e.g I like apples.

The phrase “would + infinitive” denotes a single occasion of the situation:
e.g. I would like a bottle of mineral water, please !

The present simple form of verbs of intellectual state may denote:
- permanent feature:
e.g. I know this man.
e.g. I believe in love at first sigh.
- situation occurring at the present moment (= the moment of speaking):
e.g. I understand
e.g. I believe you.

2. Quality – in the present simple form such verbs denote permanent state with reference to a present period of time:
e.g. She has got blue eyes.

3. Temporary state – these verbs denote situations at the moment of speaking:
e.g. She is very disappointed with him.

4. Stance 

the present simple form of such verbs denote temporary state covering a period of time of various duration and including the moment of speaking:
e.g. He is in the shower room.
e.g. He is at school.
e.g. He is in Australia.

In subordinate clauses of time and clauses of condition the present simple form denotes future time reference:
e.g. He will help me, when he comes.
e.g. If he comes, he will help me.

6.3.4. Means of expressing future time reference – future time reference can be expressed by several verb phrases and verb forms. However, each of them has its own modal meaning since futurity and modality are blended: the speaker can never be certain of future situations, so he or she must express personal attitude towards the relation between the situation reported and the extralinguistic reality. That is why the forms and phrases expressing future time reference are not interchangeable.

Will + simple infinitive – his phrase is used to make predictions:
e.g. Whatever will be, will be; the future is not ours to see…
e.g. It will rain tomorrow.

Due to this meaning, the phrase is common in the main clause of conditional sentences:
e.g. If the rain does not stop soon, the river will overflow its banks.

Will + perfect infinitive – this phrase denotes a situation, taking place before a future “tense locus”:
e.g. By the end of the month Irene will have finished work on this project.

Will + progressive infinitive – this phrase can be used to refer to a situation in progress at a fixed “tense locus” in the future.
e.g. This time tomorrow he will be having dinner at home.

The same phrase is used to indicate that a predicted event will happen independently of the will or intention of anyone concerned.
e.g. He will be sitting for the exam soon.

Shall + simple infinitive – this phrase is used with first-person subjects to express prediction:
e.g. We shall overcome some day.

The same phrase is used in elevated style with second-and third-person subjects:
e.g. The time shall come when king Arthur and his knights shall rise to defend England.

Shall + perfect infinitive – the phrase is used with reference to a first-person subject to express past-in-future:
e.g. By the end of the month we shall have submitted our diploma papers.

Shall + progressive infinitive – this phrase is used with reference to a first-person subject to denote a future situation independent of the will of the speaker:
e.g. I shall be spending all day at home: I’ve got a lot of things to do.

Be going to + infinitive – this construction can be used to denote:

1. Future of present intention – this meaning is possible with human subjects:
e.g. Nelly is going to spend Christmas abroad.
The implication is that the intention be carried out.

2. Future of present cause – this construction is used to denote situations located in the immediate future. It is possible with both human and non-human subjects:
e.g. The sky is overcast: it is going to snow.
e.g. She is going to cry.

Present progressive forms – the meaning of these forms can be defined as future anticipated by virtue of a present plan, programme or arrangement.:
e.g. Next week I am teaching conditional sentences.
e.g. Professor Miller is delivering a lecture at 3 o’clock; he is having dinner with Dr. Spencer at 7 o’clock.
e.g. The professor is leaving for London tomorrow afternoon.

This use of the present progressive form is possible with verbs denoting single actions or events.

Present simple forms 

this verb form can be said to represent “future as fact”, as the situation reported is treated as certain:
e.g. The school year starts on September, 15th.
e.g. The football match is at 7.

Sentences with present simple verb forms reffering to the future normally contain an adverbial modifier of time denoting future time reference:
e.g. We launch the project next week.

The present simple form denotes future situations in adverbial clauses of real condition:
e.g. If it rains, they won’t be able to play tennis.

Be about to + infinitive – this phrase is used to refer to a situation in the immediate future:
e.g. Hurry up ! The ceremony is about to begin.

Be on the point of + Gerund – this phrase denotes immediate future time reference:
e.g. Don’t interrupt her ! She is on the point of telling the truth about it.

Some means of expressing future time references have past – tense counterparts, which express “future –in-past”, i.e. situations viewed as future from a “tense locus” in the past.
e.g. She believed they would help her.
e.g. I realized that it was going to rain.
e.g. I knew she was dining out that night.
e.g. We arrived when the ceremony was about to start.

6.3.5. Tense in conditional sentences – conditional sentences consist of two clauses: main clause and subordinate clause of condition. The main clause denotes a situation the fulfillment of which depends on the fulfillment of the condition defined in the subordinate clause:
e.g. If it snows in January, they will be able to go skiing.

English verbs lack conditional mood forms. That is why tense forms in conditional sentences are used with transposed meaning: past tense forms express modal meaning within the field of “irrealis”. The situations reported by means of past tense forms have non-past time reference:
e.g. If he paid more attention in class, he would achieve better results.

The past tense “paid” denotes a situation, which does not exist now and is not likely to take place; the modal verb phrase “would achieve” refers to the imaginary results of that unlikely situation.

Past time reference is denoted by perfect forms: perfect combines with past.
e.g. If the new safety system had been in use, the accident would never have happened !

The past perfect form “had been” denotes a situation that might have existed in the past but did not exist; the modal verb phrase “would have happened” denotes what might have been the result of the no-existent past situation.

When we interprete the grammatical meaning of conditional sentences, we bear in mind two components – temporal and modal.

Conditional sentences fall into four types:

If (when) clause
Main clause
Zero conditional (real circumstances)
Present simple
Present simple
First conditional (real condition – non past)
Present simple
Will + simple infinitive
Second conditional (unreal condition – non past)
Past simple
Would + simple infinitive
Third conditional (unreal condition – past time reference)
Past perfect
Would + perfect infinitive
Mixed conditional (unreal)
Past perfect
Would + simple infinitive

Zero conditional – here belong sentences denoting habitual situations dependent on particular circumstances or general statements. The predicates of the two clauses are in the present tense form:
e.g. If/when I have too much to eat, I get sleepy.
e.g. If you chop the vegetables, they cook more quickly.

First conditional – here belong sentences referring to likely situations and their results. Likely situations of non-past time reference are denoted by means of present tense forms; The resultant situations are denoted by the phrase will + infinitive:
e.g. If I have too much to eat, I will get sleepy.

First conditional sentences may denote situations of past time reference. In such cases the subordinate clause states the premise, the main clause states the deduction. Both clauses employ past-tense verb forms:
e.g. If he solved that problem, he deserved the excellent mark.

Conditional sentences with present - tense verb forms in the two clauses imply that the situation of the main clause is likely to exist at the time of the situation of the subordinate clause:
e.g. If he is in London, he is attending an international conference.

The two situations of a conditional sentence may refer to different periods of time:
e.g. If they left in the morning, they will arrive in the evening.

The conjunction “if” is used in zero and first conditional sentences to introduce situation that are less certain to happen. The conjunctive adverb “when” is used to introduce situations that are more certain to take place:
e.g. If he comes, I will inform him about the requirements.
e.g. When he comes, I will inform him about the requirements.

The use of modal auxiliaries in conditional sentences implies less certainty:
e.g. If he should change his mind, he will let us know.
e.g. If he comes, I might inform him about the requirements.

First conditional sentences are traditionally described as sentences with real conditions.

Second conditional – second conditional sentences can be best described as sentences with unreal conditions referring to non-past situations. This type of sentence contains the past simple form in the subordinate clause and the phrase would + infinitive in the main clause:
e.g. If I had a car, I would drive to school.

If-clauses may contain subjunctive mood forms:
e.g. If I were you, I wouldn’t go.
e.g. They all like you if this be any comfort.

Third conditional – here belong sentences with unreal conditions referring to past situations. They contain past perfect forms in the subordinate clauses and would + perfect infinitive in the main clauses:
e.g. If she had taken a taxi to the airport, she wouldn’t have missed her flight.

The modal auxiliaries may, might and could in the main clause imply less certainty:
e.g. If she had taken a taxi to the airport, she might not have missed her flight.

Sometimes the situation in the subordinate clause is represented as past but the situation in the main clause is represented as non-past:
e.g. If we had left in the morning, we would be there now having dinner with Jane.

Some conditional sentences include conjunctive elements such as: unless, even if, provided that, on condition that, as long as:
e.g. Unless she takes a taxi to the airport, she will miss her flight.
e.g. You won’t be short of money as long as you plan the expenditure.

6.3.6. Verb forms and phrases in reported speech – reporting other people’s speech requires specialized verb forms to dissociate the speaker from the reported situation and to represent it as subjective. English verbs lack mood forms specialized in expressing such modal meanings. That is why tense forms are used in reported speech with transported meaning.
Such transpositions take place according to a principle known as the sequence of tenses. The principle is that the tense forms of the verb in the subordinate (mostly object) clauses must correspond with the tense forms of the verbs in the main clauses of complex sentences.
e.g. I didn’t know that he was out. (past time)
e.g. I was told that they would visit us at the weekend. (future – in - past)
e.g. I wondered if she had been to London before (past before the past)
e.g. What did you say your name was? (present time)
e.g. Tell her I died blessing her. (past in future)

Indicative mood forms – the sequence of tense principle has an effect in subordinate clauses reporting someone else’s speech or thought, where the question of subjectivity arises.
The sequence of tenses is obligatory with present non-perfect forms even in sentences denoting situations that are still true when the statement is reported:
e.g. I didn’t know that she was your sister.
When the reporting is expected to take place in the future the situation in the subordinate clause is denoted by means of the past tense form because it is expected to precede the act of reporting:
e.g. Tell her that she needn’t cook because I ordered pizza for dinner.

The sequence of tenses is obligatory even in sentences where the reporting verb is only implied:
e.g. Where were you going to sit for the exam? (= When did you say you were going to sit for the exam?)

Transposition takes place in subordinate temporal clauses where indirect speech is involved, if the situation reported in the subordinate clause was expected to take place after the moment of making the statement:
e.g. She asked me to post the letters when I went to town.

The sequence of tenses is not obligatory in the following cases:
- The statement reported denotes some general truth:
e.g. The teacher explained that water boils at 100° C
- The statement reported includes an adverbial clause, which defines the “tense locus” of the situation reported through some frame situation. The tense form denoting the frame situation remains unchanged:
e.g. He remembered that he had heard the news while he was waiting at the train station.
- The ‘tense locus” of the situation reported is defined by means of an adverbial modifier of objective character:
e.g. The tour guide informed us that Leeds castle was built in the 9th century.
- The statement reported includes an adverbial modifier referring to permanent features of the subject:
e.g. He didn’t attend the Old Boys’ Dinner because he lives abroad.
- The definition of the “tense locus” at the moment of making the statement is the same as the definition at the moment of reporting the statement:
e.g. He said he was at the disco last night.
- The present perfect is used to denote a fact, which is still true at the moment of reporting the statement:
e.g. The newspapers reported that he has been included in the national team.

Imperative mood forms – sentences in the imperative are reported by means of infinitive clauses:
e.g. We were asked to leave the premises.
e.g. The soldiers were ordered to attack.

Subjunctive mood forms – subjunctive mood forms remain unchanged in reported speech.
e.g. I insisted that they attend his lecture.
e.g. It was suggested that we visit Belgium.

Verb forms and phrases in conditional sentences – the sequence of tenses is obligatory with sentences with real conditions:
e.g. He said that I could attend the meeting if I wanted to.

Verb forms and phrases in sentences with unreal conditions remain unchanges in reported speech:
e.g. She said she would send a fax, if she knew the number.

Modal verb phrases in reported speech - the modal verbs must and ought remain unchanged in reported speech:
e.g. She said she must go.
e.g. She knew she ought to help him.

The sequence of tenses is obligatory with the future auxiliaries shall and will. When the reported statement undergoes change from 1st to 2nd or 3rd person, the same auxiliaries are used in the past form:
e.g. He promised he would help me.
e.g. He thought that he should arrive late in the afternoon.

When the reported statement undergoes change from the 2nd or 3rd person to the 1st person, the auxiliary should is used:
e.g. They wondered if I should be back by 5.
The auxiliaries can and may change into could and might:
e.g. He said he could help me.
e.g. He said he might come to the party if he wasn’t busy in the evening.

6.4. Aspect

6.4.1. Forms and meaning – the grammatical category of Aspect is indicated in the morphology of the verb but it characterizes the whole sentence.
This category is based on three functional oppositions of forms:
-       perfect – non-perfect
-       progressive – non-progressive
-       habitual – non-habitual

The semantic field of aspectuality can be classified as follows:

Three of these aspectual meaning are expressed by means of the marked forms: perfect, progressive, habitual. The rest of the meanings are expressed by means of the unmarked form.

The aspectual meanings can be defined in the following way:

Perfect – it makes an explicit reference to the relation between an implied resultant situation and a previous situation that brought about it.
Four specific varieties of the Perfect can be defined:
1. Perfect of result – it indicates the persistence of a previous situation at some fixed moment of time:
e.g. He has retired as chairman of the historical society.
2. Perfect of experience – it indicates that a situation has taken place at least once in the previous period of time:
e.g. She has written a novel before.
3. Perfect of persistent situation – it reports a situation that started in the past and persisits into the present:
e.g. He has taught German since 1989.
4. Perfect of recent past – it denotes a previous situation whose time of occurrence is specified by means of the adverbs “recently”, “just” etc.
e.g. They have just left.

Non-perfect – it locates the situation in time without referring to its relation to another situation.

Perfective -  it presents a situation as a single whole without distinction of the separate phrases that make up the situation:
e.g. He scored several goals last month.

Imperfective – it denotes a durative situation of non-state, referring to its internal temporal structure, i.e. the successive phases of which the situation consists.

Habitual – a semantic subtype of the Imperfective, representing a situation as a characteristic feature of a whole period of time; with verbs of non-state it implies the successive occurrence of instances of the situation:
e.g. He used to be a teacher in his youth.
e.g. He used to send me postcards but not letters.
e.g. He used to wear a moustache.

Continuous – a semantic subtype of the Imperfective; it represents a durative situation as non-habitual.

Non-progressive – a subtype of the Continuous; it represents a temporary situation of non-state as consisting of successive phrases:
e.g. He is decorating the room.

6.4.2. Aspects and other categories of the verb

The aspectual opposition habitual – non-habitual is restricted to the Past tense:
e.g. He used to travel a lot in his youth.

The non-habitual form can always express habitual meaning:
e.g. He travelled a lot in his youth.

The perfect form can represent a present state as being the result of some past action.

The perfect passive form of transitive verbs predicates a change of state to the object of an action:
e.g. He has been awarded a prize.

The perfect non-passive form of intransitive verbs predicates a change of state of the agent:
e.g. He has received a prize.

6.5. Voice

6.5.1. Forms and meaning  - voice is a grammatical category of the verb, which reflects the semantic role of the verbal subject. This category is based on the functional opposition of two sets of forms: active – passive

Successive sentences in text present new information associating it with information, which is already known to the reader, given either by preceding context or by the situational context. The information content of the sentence is organized into Theme – Transition – Rheme. Theme contains given information, Rheme contains new information. English is a SVO language and normally Subject function as Theme, Object functions as Rheme, the Verb is the transition between these two.

The choice of Subject, therefore, depends on the information content of the sentence. The choice of verb form depends on the semantic role of the verbal subject: if the Subject denotes the agent of the verbal situation, the verb form is in the active voice; If the subject denotes some other semantic role in the verbal situation, the verb form is in the passive voice.

The active voice form is the unmarked member of the opposition. It can express a variety of meanings:
Active – Jane opened the door for me.
Intransitive – The train pulled out of the station.
Reflexive – Jane dressed for dinner.
Reciprocal – Jane and Tom kissed for dinner.
Ergative – The door opened.

The passive voice form is the marked member of the opposition. It is formed by means of the auxiliary be and the past participle of the full verb. The Subject may have various semantic roles:
e.g. The door was opened by Jane. (affected)
e.g. I was offered tea. (recipient)
e.g. The event was talked about for a long time. (verbiage)

The verb get can be used as a passive auxiliary in the following cases:
- the speaker emphasizes the process:
e.g. I am sick of getting shouted at for things aren’t my fault.
- the speaker implies disapproval or apprehension of negative consequences:
e.g. You should wash that cut – it might get infected.
- the speaker reports accident or disastrous events in colloquial speech:
e.g. The team is determined not to get beaten again.
- the speaker implies that the subject contributes to the result of the action:
e.g. The child got lost in the park.
- the speaker is unwilling to go give information about the Agent:
e.g. Somehow the paper got ripped.

6.5.2. Types of passive structures
Objectivity is the ability of a verb to take an object (direct, indirect, prepositional). Most sentences with objective verbs in the active voice have passive counterparts. In the active – passive pair, the two sentences are related both semantically and formally: the participants in the verbal situation have the same semantic roles in the two sentences and are denoted by the same noun phrases. However, the noun phrases perform different syntactic functions in the two sentences:
e.g. Many people (Subject) all over the world speak English (Direct object).
English (Subject) is spoken by many people (Object) all over the world.

e.g. The waiter (Subject) brought me (Indirect object) a bowl of soup. 
I (Subject) was brought a bowl of soup by the waiter (Object).       

e.g. Two celebrities (Subject) spoke to the crowd (Prepositional object).       
The crowd (Subject) was spoken to by two celebrities (Object).  

Generally speaking, the Subject function in the passive voice sentence is performed by a noun phrase, which functions as Object in the corresponding active voice sentence. Three types of Object can be distinguished: direct, indirect, prepositional. Accordingly, three types of passive structures should be distinguished: primary, secondary, tertiary.

1. Primary passive – a passive voice structure in which the Subject function is performed by the noun phrase that functions as Direct Object in the corresponding active voice structure:
e.g. They built Leeds Castle in the 9th century – Leeds Castle was built in the 9th century.

 2. Secondary passive – a passive voice structure in which the Subject function is performed by the noun phrase that functions as Indirect Object in the corresponding active voice structure:
e.g. The shop assistant showed me some very beautiful skirts. – I was shown some very beautiful skirts.

3. Teritary passive – a passive voice structure in which the Subject function is performed by the noun phrase that functions as Prepositional object in the corresponding active voice structure:
e.g. They always take good care of her dog – Her dog is always taken good care of.

6.5.3. Voice constrains -  objective verbs can be used in the passive voice but passivization is restricted by some semantic and structural features of the Predicate verb, the syntactic Object and the semantic Agent.
Voice constraints concern the form of the verb, the modal meaning of the structure, the shift from Object – to Subject – function of the noun phrase, the possibility of introducing the Agent-phrase into the passive structure as well as the frequency of use of active and passive voice forms.

1. The verb – objective verbs denoting states of quality or relations can be used only in the active voice:
e.g. She has got long blonde hair.
e.g. He resembles his mother.

If the information structure of the sentence requires a passive verb structure, the predicate should be expanded into a modal verb phrase or else it should be paraphrased:
e.g. This room seats twenty people. – Twenty people can be seated in this room.
e.g. He owes his success to good luck more than to ability. – His success is due to good luck more than to ability.

Verbs introducing opinion are often used in the passive, in order to express generalized statements:
e.g. He will be considered a waek leader.

Modal verb phrases undergo partial passive transformation by changing only the infinitive of the full verb. The sentence in the active voice refers to a particular situation; the sentence in the passive voice is a generalized statement. Besides, the two sentences express different modal meanings:
e.g. We can’t persuade him to try again. (ability) – He can’t be persuaded to try again. (possibility)

Prepositional verbs often occur in the passive in their figurative meaning, combining with abstract nouns in the function of Object:
e.g. One quickly gets into bad habits – Bad habits are quickly got into.

2. The Object – sentences containing nominal objects can undergo passive transformation:
e.g. I ordered Indian food. – Indian food was ordered.

If, however, the nominal object and the subject have the same reference, passive transformation is impossible:
e.g. She opened her eyes in surprice.
e.g. The boys amused themselves by drawing caricatures.
e.g. Jack and Jill were smiling at each other.

3. The Agent – the agent-phrase is optional in the structure of the passive voice sentence. The Agent is not introduced if it is:
- unknown -  e.g. John Brown was mugged last night.
- irrelevant – e.g. What would a student do if he were deprived of his book?
- redundant – e.g. France played Wales at Rugby last night and was beaten.
- irrecoverable – e.g. Trains have been replaced by buses.

Passive voice forms are frequently used in the context of mass media and in scientific texts.
Active voice forms are used predominantly in creative writing – poetry, fiction as well as in colloquial speech.

6.6. Grammatical meaning of the non-finite verb forms

English has four non-finite verb forms: infinitive, gerund. – ing participle, - ed participle
The paradigms of non-finite verb forms are presented already: the infinitive, the gerund and the – ing participle express the verbal categories of aspect and voice by means of analytical forms. All the forms in the paradigms constitute a system. The functional oppositions between the individual forms in the system reveal the grammatical meaning of the forms. The grammatical meaning of each form can be represented as a semantic complex consisting of several components. Components are individual realizations of abstract semantic features. The analysis of the functional oppositions between the forms of the non-finite verb system makes it possible to identify the following features: modality, temporality, aspectuality and voice.

The components of these features are:

The semantic structure of the grammatical meaning of each non-finite verb form can be described by stating the components of that meaning:

e.g. I prefer walking to cycling
walking and cycling – simple gerund – realis; simultaneous; habitual; active

e.g. Having been bred in that communion was like being born an Englishman.
Having been bred – perfect passive gerund – realis, previous; perfect, passive

e.g. Having passed the exam made me feel happy.
Having passed – perfect gerund – realis; previous; perfect; active.

e.g. I hate to trouble you.
To trouble you – simple infinitive – irrealis; successive; perfective; active.

e.g. He was reported to be preparing the boat for the voyage.
To be preparing – progressive infinitive – realis; simultaneous; progressive; active

e.g. He was found to have stolen the car.
To have stolen – perfect infinitive – realis; previous; perfect; active

e.g. He is a man to be watched.
To be watched – passive infinitive – irrealis; successive; perfective; passive.

e.g. To have been bred in that community would have been an advantage.
To have been bred – perfect passive – irrealis; previous; perfect; passive

e.g. They were found digging a tunnel through the hill.
Digging – simple  - ing participle – realis; simultaneous; progressive; active

e.g. I wailed, being caught in the very act of stealing.
Being caught – passive – ing participle – realis; simultaneous; progressive; active

e.g. Having settled my plans for the day, I got up.
Having been settled – perfect passive – ing participle – realis; previous; perfect; passive

e.g. The smoke drifted away and the camp lay revealed.
Revealed - -ed participle of transitive verb – realis; previous; perfective; passive

Having described the grammatical meaning of each non-finite verb form, we identify specific grammatical categories in the non-finite verb system: modal representation, temporal representation, aspectual representation and voice representation.

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