Answers to exercises: Chapter 6


Answers to exercises: Chapter 6 1. Tense versus time (a)

If you went to town tomorrow, I could meet you at Marks and Spencers. The tense of went is clearly PAST. As we have said, tense forms work differently for modal verbs like could (more about that under (c)), but formally could is PAST. However, the adverbial tomorrow clearly indicates that the speaker is talking about the future. This is an example of past tense and future time. Can you think of a reason why it works this way here? If you try the fir st clause without the if, you get an ungrammatical sentence: I went to town tomorrow.


He has created some famous cartoon characters. The finite verb has occurs in its present tense, but the event itself – the creating of some famous cartoon character s – happened in past time. Has is the auxiliary of the perfect and contributes perfect aspect. We said that perfect aspect indicates that the event happened before the time the speaker is focusing on, not necessarily before now. The present tense in this se ntence is there because the speaker focuses on now; you can imagine adding an adverbial like by now to indicate this. It does not indicate that the event is now.


I could help you with your homework tomorrow. If you just look at the form of could it is PAST TENSE, whereas the adverbial tomorrow indicates future. In this context, the present tense form can could equally well have been used. It is difficult to say exactly what the difference is between this sentence and I can help you with your homework tomorrow. It is usually said to be related to tentativeness or politeness. Maybe you could ask a few native speakers what they think is the difference. 2. Marginal modals

The characteristics of modals are that they lack a non- finite form, they do not take a third person singular -s and they combine with a verb in its bare infinitive form (that is to say that there is no infinitival to present). Like all auxiliaries, they can also combine with the negation without any need for a dummy do and they can invert with the subject to form a question. The one of us who is not a native speaker has written this answer, just to show that there are plenty of ways for us non -native speakers to find out things about English. For this, I have simply used Google. When you us e the internet as a corpus for English, you need to be a little careful, since many pages in English are written by people who are not native speakers. You also need to keep an eye on where in the English-speaking world they come from, as there may be differences between different kinds of English. For detailed work you might want to use proper corpora, and usually a college or a university will have access to some of these. Considering the auxiliary status first, if it is an auxiliary, there should be que stions with dare without do-support. These are quite easy to find: Introducing English Grammar, second edition, published by Routledge © K. Börjars and K. Burridge


(1) Dare I say that I think he offends people? To some people this sounds a little formal or old -fashioned, but a Google search also showed that you can buy a t-shirt with the text: (2) How dare I wear this goddamn t-shirt in front of your f***ing kids? (Though the t-shirt does not use stars!) So it is not barred from less formal language. At the same time, I found examples like this, where do-support is used: (3) How does he dare say such a thing! It is a similar mixture with negation. I found: (4) I dare not tell my parents. as well as: (5) She doesn’t dare to interrupt him. Dare seems to be used both as an auxiliary and as a lexical verb. If you are a native speaker, which of the sentenc es above would you naturally use? Are you a dareauxiliary or a dare-lexical person? The data I have found so far has interesting things to tel l us about the modal status too. Remember that a modal combines with a bare infinitive. Compare (4), where dare behaves like an auxiliary, and (5), where it doesn’t. You can see that , as we would expect, it occurs without to in (4) and with a to in (5). So, when it behaves like an auxiliary, it also behaves like a modal, and the other way around. However, things are not quite that orderly. In (3), it behaves like a lexical verb in that it requires do-support, but it does combine with a bare infinitive, so it shows mixed behaviour. It is possible also to find examples with dare and both do-support and a to infinitive: (6) How does he dare to sing something like that? With respect to the third person singular -s, which modals do not have, we find the same mixed behaviour: (7) He is outraged that she dare do such a thing. (8) She dares to do things she would never do otherwise. In (7), we have the typical modal lack of -s and the verb behaves like a modal also in that there is no to. In (8), on the other hand, we have both the -s and the infinitival to, both typical of lexical verbs. However, by now we should be used t o it not being that neat and indeed, we get mixed behaviour, -s typical of non- modal verbs, but an absence of to typical of modals: (9) I'm more pissed about how she dares do this crap to me. So calling dare a marginal modal definitely seems the right thing to do: its behaviour seems very mixed. What I haven’t done here is attempt to distinguish between the ages of speakers or their geographical origin, but I bet a more detailed study of that would be interesting. Let’s turn now to ought to. The fact that we say ought to rather than ought would seem to indicate that it always occurs with to. However, it is not impossible to find examples without to: (10) Maybe she ought do her own Nickel-and-Dimed-type experiment and write about that ?

Introducing English Grammar, second edition, published by Routledge © K. Börjars and K. Burridge


Even though it tends to occur with to, as a good lexical verb should, it also tends to occur without -s, as a good lexical verb shouldn’t: (11) She ought to brush up on her Latin. However, some people do use the -s and the to, in which case it doesn’t behave like a modal at all, at least not structurally, though its meaning is the kin d of meaning a modal would have – it is very close in meaning to should. This example is from a blog associated with the Florida Agricultur al and Mechanical University, so US English: (12) She oughts to be ashamed of how she behaved. Looking now at the more general auxiliary characteristics, like question formation and negation, I Googled for ought she to as an example of inverted order, and among the first ten hits were the following three examp les: (13) ‘And ought she to desert her heavenly Father, my child?’ asked the aunt, mildly. (14) When a lady opens her own door to a gentleman visitor, ought she to precede him into the house or allow him to take precedence? (15) Ought she to spend the usual college years in a school for matrimony? The example in (13) comes from the 1820 American novel Precaution, (14) from an 1892 book on etiquette and (15) from the article ‘Wherein should the education of a woman differ from that of a man’, published in The School Review in 1905. So, on the basis of this, it looks as if treating ought as an auxiliary with respect to question formation is a little old fashioned. However, if it were treated as a lexical verb, the equivalent would be Did she ought to …? and a search for that does not give many proper examples. So, how do speakers form a question from She ought to brush up her Latin? I suspect they say Should she brush up her Latin? Looking at negation now, oughtn’t gives some hits, but one of them is from a language forum at (16) "'As you haven't asked my opinion, perhaps I oughtn't give it,'"... (Lost Horizon, P43) I can't even pronounce it. Have any of you guys ever used it or heard someone use it? Thanks, –Jonathan. So, there are clearly people who are not so happy with it. It fares better if we look for the full negation. W e get examples both with and without to: (17) Economic sanctions ought not be used to achieve foreign policy objectives. (18) A just society ought not to use the death penalty as a form of punishment. One example I found, in which ought has all structural characteristics of a modal, sounds strange to many native speakers I have asked: (19) What ought she know? It comes from a local American paper, the Reading Eagle (Reading, PA). So, ought is a marginal modal, but it is marginal in a different way from need. Many people would use should instead.

Introducing English Grammar, second edition, published by Routledge © K. Börjars and K. Burridge


3. Lexical versus auxiliary verbs (a)

Bob Dylan has [AUXILIARY VERB, FINITE, THIRD PERSON SINGULAR PRESENT TENSE] at various times revolutionised [ LEXICAL VERB, NON- FINITE, PPART ] folk, rock, country and gospel music.


From the very first, this was [LEXICAL VERB, FINITE, SINGULAR PAST TENSE] an artist who made [LEXICAL VERB, FINITE, PAST TENSE] us look [LEXICAL VERB, NON- FINITE, BARE INFINITIVE] at the familiar with new eyes and ears. Was can be an auxiliary verb as well, but this is the lexical one because it takes an NP complement. When it is an auxiliary, it is followed by a verb. Look at (g) and you’ll see what we mean. We know look is non- finite because it cannot be changed into past tense.


Isn’t [LEXICAL VERB, FINITE, THIRD PERSON SINGULAR PRESENT TENSE, NEGATIVE] there enough irreverence in the world? We said that even when it is a lexical verb, is and other for ms of be can invert to form a question.


The songs don’t [AUXILIARY VERB, FINITE, PLURAL PRESENT TENSE, NEGATIVE] require [LEXICAL, NON- FINITE, BARE INFINITIVAL] much acting. You might also have assumed that acting was a verb. Of course it can be, as i n He was only acting, but clearly it can also be a noun as in the acting was poor. One way of testing whether it is a verb or a noun is to add some modification. Nouns are modified by adjectives like good and verbs by adverbs like well. In (d), acting would be modified by good rather than well: The songs don’t require much good/*well acting. We conclude then that acting is a noun here.


The inflections would [AUXILIARY VERB, MODAL, FINITE (PAST)] maybe differ [LEXICAL VERB, NON- FINITE, BARE INFINITIVE] if we changed [ LEXICAL VERB, FINITE, PAST TENSE] the key and sometimes that might [AUXILIARY VERB, MODAL, FINITE (PAST)] affect [LEXICAL VERB, NON- FINITE, BARE INFINITIVE] the emotional resonance. We have put PAST in brackets here since tense works in a s lightly unusual way with modals.


Did [AUXILIARY VERB, FINITE, PAST TENSE] you have [LEXICAL VERB, NONFINITE, BARE INFINITIVE] a favourite cowboy singer as a kid? Have is a lexical verb here by the same arguments we used for was in (b).


Nothing back there would [AUXILIARY VERB, MODAL, FINITE (PAST)] play [LEXICAL VERB, NON- FINITE, BARE INFINITIVE] any part in where I was [AUXILIARY VERB, FINITE, SINGULAR PAST TENSE] going [ LEXICAL VERB, NONFINITE, ING FORM ]. 4. Categories of lexical verbs

Introducing English Grammar, second edition, published by Routledge © K. Börjars and K. Burridge



That didn’t stop one of the sons of this unremarkable Cheshire town. MONO- TRANSITIVE: it takes one object.


A chance remark gave Warrington the idea of ostrich dealing over the Internet. DI- TRANSITIVE : two objects.


I told him to check the Internet. DI- TRANSITIVE : it takes an indirect object and a clausal object, which takes the form of a to-infinitival clause. You might have wondered whether to consider him an object or an unusual subject. We consider it an object here because if (c) is true, then it is also true that I told him.


Ostriches on line was born.

INTENSIVE: it combines with a subject complement .


I marketed everything to do with ostriches. MONO- TRANSITIVE: combines with an object.


The demand for leather and feathers is especially high. INTENSIVE: combines with a subject complement .


The ostrich industry is on the up. INTENSIVE: combines with an adverbial complement .


It might become the first ostrich theme park. INTENSIVE: combines with a subject complement .


I treat my ostriches very well. This is a tricky one. There are two complements, my ostriches and very well. Very well is a complement, not an optional adverbial, since I treat my ostriches means something else (either that you buy them some ice cream or that you are a vet providing them with some medication). My ostriches is an object, since there is a corresponding passive my ostriches are treated very well by me. Very well behaves like an object complement in some ways and we shall then call this COMPLEX TRANSITIVE. If you argued it differently, check with your tutor, but if you said DI- TRANSITIVE or assumed that there was only one complement following the verb, we don’t think you are right.



I don’t agree with battery farming. but we do assume that the preposition combines with the verb, so that it should be described as a PREPOSITIONAL MONO- TRANSITIVE verb. The reason we say this is that we think (i), where the V and the P are kept together, is more natural than (ii), where the P stays with the NP: (i) What I don’t agree with is battery farming. (ii) ?What I don’t agree is with battery farming. MONO- TRANSITIVE,

I met my girlfriend through a website chatroom. MONO- TRANSITIVE: through a website chatroom is an optional adverbial and does not count for the verb classification.

Introducing English Grammar, second edition, published by Routledge © K. Börjars and K. Burridge


Answers to exercises: Chapter 6

1 Answers to exercises: Chapter 6 1. Tense versus time (a) If you went to town tomorrow, I could meet you at Marks and Spencers. The tense of went i...

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