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Chapter VII



§ 1. The verb is a part of speech which denotes an action. The verb has the following grammatical categories: person, number, tense, aspect, voice and mood. These categories can be expressed by means of affixes, inner flexion (change of the root vowel) and by form words.

Verbs may be transitive and intransitive.

Verbs have finite forms which can be used as the predicate of a sentence and non-finite forms which cannot be used as the predicate of a sentence.

§ 2. According to their morphological structure verbs are divided into:

(a) simple (read, live, hide, speak);

(b) derived, i. e. having affixes (magnify, fertilize, captivate, undo, decompose);

(c) compound, i. e. consisting of two stems (daydream, browbeat);

(d) composite, consisting of a verb and a postposition of adverbial origin (sit down, go away, give up). The modern term for these verbs is phrasal verbs.

The postposition often changes the meaning of the verb with which it is associated. Thus, there are composite verbs whose meaning is differ­ent

from the meaning of their components: to give up — бросать, пре­кращать; to bring up — воспитывать; to do away — ликвидировать.

There are other composite verbs in which the original meaning of its components is preserved: to stand up, to come in, to go out, to put on.

§ 3. The basic forms of the verb in Modern English are: the Infinitive, the Past Indefinite and Participle II: to speak — spoke — spoken.

According to the way in which the Past Indefinite and Participle II are formed, verbs are divided into three groups: regular verbs, irregular verbs, and mixed verbs.

I. Regular verbs. They form the Past indefinite and Participle II by adding -ed to the stem of the verb, or only -d if the stem of the verb ends in -e.

to want — wanted to unite — united

to open — opened to live — lived

The pronunciation of -ed(-d) depends on the sound preceding it. It is pronounced:

[id] after t, d: wanted ['wontid], landed ['lændid];

[d] after voiced consonants except d and after vowels: opened ['əupnd], played [pleid];

[t] after voiceless consonants except t: worked [w3:kt]. The following spelling rules should be observed:

(a) Final y is changed into i before the addition of -ed if it is pre­ceded by a consonant.

to carry — carried to reply — replied

y remains unchanged if it is preceded by a vowel,

to enjoy — enjoyed

(b) If a verb ends in a consonant preceded by a short stressed vowel, the final consonant is doubled.

to stop — stopped to stir — stirred

to plan — planned to submit — submitted

to sob — sobbed

Final r is doubled if it is preceded by a stressed vowel.

to occur — occurred

to prefer — preferred

to refer — referred

Final r is not doubled when preceded by a diphthong, to appear — appeared

Final l is doubled if it is preceded by a short vowel, stressed or unstressed:

to compel — compelled

to quarrel — quarrelled

2. Irregular verbs. Here belong the following groups of verbs:

(a) verbs which change their root vowel.

to sing — sang — sung

to meet — met — met

to win — won — won


(b)verbs which change their root vowel and add -en for Partici­ple II.

to speak — spoke — spoken

to write — wrote — written

to take — took — taken

(c)verbs which change their root vowel and add -d or -t.

to sell — sold — sold

to bring — brought — brought

(d)verbs which change their final -d into -t.

to send — sent — sent

to build — built — built

(e)verbs which have the same form for the Infinitive, Past Indefinite and Participle II.

to put — put — put

to set — set — set

to shut — shut — shut

(f)verbs whose forms come from different stems.

to be — was,

were — been

to go — went — gone

(g)special irregular verbs.

to have — had — had

to make — made — made

to do — did — done

(h)defective (anomalous) verbs.

can — could may — might

must will — would

ought shall — should


3. Mixed verbs. Their Past Indefinite is of the regular type, and their Participle II is of the irregular type:

to show — showed — shown

to sow — sowed — sown

§ 4. According to the syntactic function of verbs, which depends on the extent to which they retain, weaken or lose their meaning, they are divided into notional verbs, auxiliary verbs and link verbs.

1. Notional verbs are those which have a full meaning of their own and can be used without any additional words as a simple predicate. Here belong such verbs as to write, to read, to speak, to know, to ask.

Ricky surrounded her with great care and luxury. (Stern)

She knew what he was thinking. (Galsworthy)

2. Auxiliary verbs are those which have lost their meaning and are used only as form words, thus having only a grammatical function. They are used in analytical forms. Here belong such verbs as to do, to have, to be, shall, will, should, would, may.

I don't recollect that he ever did anything, at least not in my time. (Galsworthy)

Their father... had come from Dorsetshire near the beginning of the century. (Galsworthy)

But all this time James was musing... (Galsworthy)

He would have succeeded splendidly at the Bar. (Galsworthy)

3. Link verbs are verbs which to a smaller or greater extent have lost their meaning and are used in the compound nominal predicate.

The house was too big. (Galsworthy)

The old face looked worn and hollow again. (Galsworthy)

Manson no longer felt despondent, but happy, elated, hopeful.(Cronin)

In different contexts the same verb can be used as a notional verb and an auxiliary verb or a link verb:

... She turned her head sullenly away from me. (Collins) (NO­TIONAL VERB)

She... turned deadly pale. (Collins) (LINK VERB)

No one was there to meet him. (Lindsay) (NOTIONAL VERB)

She was not a ten-year-old girl any more... (Dreiser) (LINK VERB)

She was constantly complaining of being lonely. (Shaw) (AUXI­LIARY VERB)

There is a special group of verbs which cannot be used without additional words, though they have a meaning of their own. These are modal verbs such as can, may, must, ought, etc.

A slow swell of feeling choked the little boy's heart. Though he could not, dared not question the consul's strict command, its purpose lay beyond his comprehension. (Cronin) "We ought to have stayed in Italy," he said. "We ought never to have come back to Manderley." (Du Maurier)

The same verb in different contexts can be modal and auxiliary.

I crouched against the wall of the gallery so that I should not be seen. (Du Maurier) (AUXILIARY VERB)

I don't honestly think Lady Crowan was exaggerating when she said something should be done in your honour. (Du Maurier) (MODAL VERB)

I had no idea she would do that. (Du Maurier) (AUXILIARY VERB)

He needed a cook. Why couldn't she apply for the job? But Morris would not hear of it. (Prichard) (MODAL VERB)

§ 5. As has been stated above a verb can be transitive and intransitive. Transitive verbs can take a direct object, i. e. they express an action which passes on to a person or thing directly. Here belong such verbs as to take, to give, to send, to make, to see, to show, to bring, to love etc.

Jon had never loved her so much as in that minute which seemed to falsify Fleur's fears and to release his soul. (Galsworthy)

Youth only recognizes Age by fits and starts. Jon, for one, had never really seen his father's age till he came back from Spain. (Galsworthy)

There are some transitive verbs which are hardly ever used without a direct object, such as to take, to make, to give, to have.

Arthur signed the receipt, took his papers and went out in dead silence. (Voynich)

There are other verbs which can be used either with or without a direct object, such as to read, to write, to hear; to see.

On Friday night about eleven he had packed his bag and was leaning out of his window... when he heard a tiny sound, as of a finger-nail, tapping on his door. (Galsworthy)

The starch, as he soon heard, was valued at ten dollars a barrel and it only brought six. (Dreiser)

Intransitive verbs cannot take a direct object. Here belong such verbs as to stand, to sleep, to laugh, to think, to lie, to swim.

She shrank slowly away from him, and stood quite still. (Voy- nich)

There are verbs whose primary meaning is transitive and whose secondary meaning is intransitive. Here belong such verbs as to sell, to read, to add, to act, etc.

This book sells well.

Though Dora tried hard the figures would not add.

There are verbs whose primary meaning is intransitive and whose secondary meaning is transitive. Here belong such verbs as to work, to starve, to walk, to run, etc.

For that man, I've been running people through the front line! (Heym) — И для этого человека я гонял людей через линию фронта!

The stream which worked the mill came bubbling down in a dozen rivulets. (Galsworthy)— Река, приводившая в движение мельницу, разбегалась, журча, на десятки ручейков.

In these examples the verbs are used in a causative meaning, i. e. the person or thing denoted by the object is made to perform the action denoted by the verb.

There are verbs which in different contexts can be transitive or intransitive. As far as Modern English is concerned, it is impossible to say which meaning is primary and which is secondary. Here belong such verbs as to open, to move, to turn, to change, to drop, etc.

The woman opened the door at once almost breathlessly. (Hardy)

While she stood hesitating, the door opened, and an old man came forth shading a candle with one hand. (Hardy)

§ 6. A verb can also have some aspect characteristics depending solely on its lexical meaning. Accordingly verbs are divided into terminative, non-terminative and verbs of double lexical (aspect) character.

1. Terminative verbs denote an action implying a certain limit beyond which it cannot go. Here belong simple and composite verbs, such as to come, to bring, to build, to give, to take, to receive, to find, to fall, to kill, to die, to become, to stand up, to sit down, to come to. They can correspond both to Russian verbs of imperfective and of perfective

aspect: to come — приходить, прийти; to build — строить, построить; to give — давать, дать; to die — умирать, умереть.

He went to the kitchen andbrought him a cake and a plate of biscuits. (Carter)

Every head turned. Row after row of men and womenstood upto see who it was making his way to the front. (Carter)

2. Non-terminative verbs denote a certain action which does not imply any limit. Here belong such verbs as to live, to exist, to sleep, to love, to be, to havey to possess, to work, to speak, to respect, to hope, to sit, etc.

They correspond to Russian verbs of imperfective aspect only: to live — жить, to exist — существовать, to sleep — спать.

Shesat erect in the hard chair, her gloved hands gracefully folded in her lap. (Carter)

2. Verbs of double lexical character in certain contexts have a ter- minative meaning, and in others, a non-terminative meaning. Here belong such verbs as to see, to hear; to write, to read, to translate.

Arthur looked round the room,saw that everything was hidden, and unlocked the door. (Voynich) — Артур бросил взгляд на комнату, увидел, что все спрятано, и отпер дверь. I don't believe in fairies. I neversee any. (Galsworthy) — Я не верю в фей. Я их никогда не вижу.

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