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The communicative types of sentences.

The sentence is above all a communicative unit; therefore, the primary classification of sentences is based on the communicative principle, traditionally defined as “the purpose of communication”. According to the purpose of communication, sentences are subdivided into declarative, interrogative and imperative.

Declarative sentences are traditionally defined as those expressing statements, either affirmative or negative

Imperative sentences express inducements of various kinds (orders or requests); they may also be either affirmative or negative

Interrogative sentences express questions, or requests for information,

Charles Fries suggested classifying all the utterances not on the basis of their own semantics, but on the kind of responses which they elicit, or according to their external characteristics.

1. utterances which are followed by oral responses (greetings, calls, questions, etc.)

2. utterances followed by action responses (requests or commands)

3. utterances which elicit signals of attention to further conversation (statements)

4. additionally, he distinguished a minor group of utterances, which are not directed to any interlocutor in particular and presuppose no response (“non-communicative utterances”, e.g., interjectional outcries).

Fries’s classification does not refute the traditional classification of communicative sentence types, but rather confirms and specifies it


1. the exclamatory sentence: whether it is a separate com. Type or whether it is not, cause any other type can become exclamatory (intonation)


· emotional ( exclamatory sentences)

· non emotional ( all other types)


· declarative ( emotional/non emotional)

· interrogative ( emotional/non emotional)

· exclamatory ( don’t refer to any other com.type)

2. Affirmative/negative sentences are gram. Varieties of the declarative sentences, or a negative s-s is a variety of an affirmative s-ce. No special com.type for a negative sentence

Blokh: intermediary communicative types

Besides the three cardinal monofunctional communicative types of sentences, there is a number of constructional sentence models ofintermediary, mixed communicative character. The transfer of certain communicative features from one communicative type of sentence to another can be observed in correlations of all three cardinal communicative types, i.e. in statement – question, statement – inducement, and inducement – question correlations.

· So-called indirect questions have the form of a declarative sentence, but actually express a request for information, e.g.: I wonder who shut the window (cf.: Who shut the window?). An answer is expected, as with a regular question, e.g.: I wonder who shut the window. – Tom did; the response supports the mixed communicative character of this sentence type.

· rhetorical questions are interrogative in their structural form, but express a declarative functional meaning of high intensity, e.g.: How can you say a thing like this? The sentence does not express a question; it is a reprimand. No answer is expected; the responses elicited by rhetorical questions correspond to responses elicited by declarative sentence

· Intermediary between statements and inducements are formally declarative sentences with modal verbs and other lexical means of inducement, e.g.: You must shut the window; I want you to shut the window (cf.: Shut the window, please!). The responses to these sentences are similar to those elicited by imperative sentences proper, i.e. actional responses or verbal agreement or disagreement to perform the actions

Thus, the classification of the communicative sentence types, in addition to three cardinal communicative types, includes six intermediary subtypes of sentences of mixed communicative features:

· mixed sentence patterns of declaration (interrogative-declarative, imperative-declarative),

· mixed sentence patterns of interrogation (declarative-interrogative, imperative-interrogative)

mixed sentence patterns of inducement (declarative-imperative, interrogative-imperative).

The principal sentence parts

The principal parts of the sentence are the subject and the predicate, which modify each other: the subject is the “person” modifier of the predicate, and the predicate is the “process” modifier of the subject; they are interdependent.

Subject.The subj.is a word or a group of words denoting the thing we speak about.. s. & p. are of the same syntactic rank

BUT! W. Chafe believes that there is only one principle part- the predicate! As the subj. is one of the verb compliments! It may be regarded even to the same level as obj. The verb determins the form of both subj.and obj. ( sees >he>>me)

Arguments in favour!

1.In the majority of cases the verb is present.

2. the verb determines what the rest of the sentence will be like. ( the chair laughs. Глагол делает подлежащие одушевленным)

Arguments that subject is one of the principle parts.(ильицкий? Не уверена, не смогла у Лены разглядеть)

1. The s. is the only sent.part, which not only subordinate to the predicate, but also subordinate the pred. (he writes)

2. in the pred-obj. relation the form of the obj is determined lexically. (I saw him) the obj. case depends on the lexical meaning of the verb, whereas the nom. Case of the subj. doesn’t depend on the lexical meaning of the predicate. The s-pr relations are syntactically conditioned. While pred-obj relations are lexically conditioned.

3. The sub. Position is morphologically marked, the s. is always in the nom. Case and preceeds the pr. The obj position is morphologically unmarked. The obj. may be in the obj.case preceeded by preposition

4. The sub.position is always obligatory


1. The problem of complex members( comp.subj, complex obj)

Pr. Ильиш is against the complex subject ( he is seen to enter the room) the splitting of the subj. is strange to English. In his opinion he is the subj. & was seen to enter- a peculiar type of the compoungd predicate

2. The linguistic status of IT and THERE in personal & existential sentences is problematic! Some scholars say that it,there are part of the subj. роговская, хаймович name them them “secondary subj” in existential sent-s (introductory)



1. The problem of a simple nominal predicate.

Trad-ly “simple nominal pred”is recognized,

but ИЛЬИШ > 2 varieties of it:

a. Pred follows the subj. ( my ideas obsolete)

b. Pred preceeds the subj. (splendid game cricket )

Смирницкий speaks about the following types of pred. from the point of view

1. Of the structure ( simple, compound)

2. Of meaning ( qualificative, objective-I have a lot of friends, adverbial-he is here, process –I can see nothing, double( a blend of process & qualification термин смирницкого) –the snow fell thick)

Curme “ a grammar of English lg”-

1)the predi is expressed by a finite form of complete predication

2) the pred-is ex-d by a verb of incomplete predication + complement! (object or predicative) – man is mortal –

3)finite form+opposition he came home sick

Secondary sentence parts.

he secondary parts are: the object – a substance modifier of the predicate; the attribute – a quality modifier of substantive parts, either the subject or the object; the adverbial modifier – a quality modifier of the predicate; the apposition – a substance modifier of the subject; the parenthesis (parenthetical enclosure) - a detached speaker-bound modifier either of one of the nominative parts of the sentence or of the sentence in general; the address (addressing enclosure) – a modifier of the destination of the whole sentence; the interjection (interjectional enclosure) – an emotional modifier.

Do not form predication, they are used to complete&expand principle sentence-parts> they are called “compliments”.

· Ac. Пешковский doesn’t use the notions of obj.,attr.,adv.modifier, but he classifies them into

· which are governed

· which are not governed.

Object.Tr-ly it is a secondary sent part, denotes a thing by the process or property, ex-d mainly in the predicate. An object is a noun phrase or a clause with nominal function( subdivided into simple, complex (when the object is expressed by an infinitival participial or gerundial complex),direct (a noun that completes the meaning of a transitive verb), indirect(denotes a living being to whom the action of the verb is directed)

Бурлакова speaks about O1, Obj2, Obj 3:

object 1- always non-prepositionalirrespective of its position in the sentence ( they sent a doctor away. They sent away a doctor)

2- eiter prepositional or non-prep. Depends on its position ( they sent a doctor some money. They sent some money to the doctor)

3- Is always prepositional ( they sent for the doctor. For the doctor they sent)

Symmetrical verbs- whose subj-s and obj-s may exchange their positions without producing any change in the meaning of the sent(.ex. to meet, to marry) there are some verbs not requiring any ob. In the sent. As the ob. Is mentioned in the verb! –go blackberry( ходить за ягодами)

Problems of the complex obj. – some scholars do not recognize an obj!

Adv. Modifier. Trad-ly isa secondary part of the sentence which modifies a predicate-verb, a verbal in any of its function or a part of the sentence expressed by an adjective or adverb.

Semantically can be classified:

· adv. Modifier of time and frequency

· adv.modifier of place and direction

· adv. Modifier of purpose

· adv. Modifier of manner

· adv. Modifier of attending circumstances

· adv. Modifier of comparison

· adv. Modifier of cause

· of result

· of condition

· of concession

· of degree and measure

Sometimes no clear -cut border-line between a prepositional obj. & adv.modifier( he was looking at the door)

иванова > it is a prepositional Obj, if the use of the prep is governed by the verb. If the use of the prep is optional, Then it’s an adv. Modifier

ильиш suggests the term “neutralization “calls them secondary sentence parts without further subdivision.

Attribute.Trad-ly they serve to modify nouns & noun-equivalents. Structurally are indicated by their position in the sentence. They can be either in pre-position or post-position to the words they modify. Semantically may express various shades of relations with their head nouns. They may be qualitative ( fine days, A ninepenny stamp) circumstantial (a man in love, The key to the door)


1. Whether the attr. Is the same synt.level as other secondary sent-members or whether an attr. Is of lower rank, than an obj& the adv.mod

Problems of sentence-members:

1. Whether the sec.sent.members are optional . this approach is based on theory of valiancy (валентности). According to this theory –optional and obligatory valiancy are distinguished.

The obligatory one is as must, necessarily been realized to complete the sentence structurally. In this connection sec.sent.parts are obligatory, if they form the obligatory valiancy of the pred.

The optional one is such as it isn’t necessarily realized in grammatically complete constructions.( She wrote me a letter- a direct obj. is marked by the obligatory valiancy –of a lower level than apredicate)

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