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Noun Phrases

Noun as ‘head’ As with verb phrases, noun phrases (NP) must consist minimally of a head word. This may be either a noun or a pronoun, e.g.   The head in noun phrases may also receive pre-modification. There are five main…

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Verb Phrases

The simplest verb phrase (VP) consists of just a head verb, which is always a lexical verb. So, in the utterance the boy hugged the dog, the verb phrase is simply the head lexical verb hugged. This can be represented diagrammatically by using what is known as…

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Phrases

What is a grammatical phrase? Consider the following utterance: the lady from Powburn village was looking along the main road because she had been expecting the delivery yesterday This utterance cannot helpfully be viewed as just a string of single…

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Conjunctions

Conjunctions form a closed class There is a limited number of conjunctions and new ones cannot be added easily. Hence, like auxiliary verbs, numerals, determiners, pronouns and prepositions, conjunctions form a closed word class. The function of conjunctions These words conjoin,…

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Prepositions

Prepositions form a closed class There is a restricted number of prepositions and it is difficult to add new members. Accordingly, like auxiliary verbs,  numerals, determiners, pronouns and conjunctions, prepositions form a closed class of words. Prepositions are relation words Prepositions…

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Pronouns

Closed class Whereas lexical verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs constitute open classes of words, pronouns (like auxiliary verbs, numerals, determiners, prepositions, and conjunctions) form a closed class, i.e. the membership of the class is fixed. It is not usually…

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Determiners

Determiners form a closed class Unlike open classes (such as lexical verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs), the membership of a closed class of words is fixed. Consequently, it is not generally possible to add new words to the class. Determiners form such a closed…

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Numerals

Numerals form a closed class Recall that a word class is said to be closed if no more words can be added to the class. Whilst in theory it is possible to keep counting to infinity, in practice there are a limited number of numerals that are used…

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