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Levels of syntactical analysis




§ 39. Within the sentence we usually distinguish two syntactical levels of analysis, one belonging to the sentence proper, which is called the sentence level, and one belonging to various phrases treated as a whole and functioning in the sentence with the same force as separate words. This level is called the phrase level.

The subject and the predicate belong to the sentence level only. The object, the adverbial modifier, the attribute, and the apposition may belong either to the sentence level or to the phrase level.

 

He did not tell me anything about it. (Me, anything, about it are objects to the verb-predicate - the

sentence level.)

You are unhappy about something, aren’t you? (About something is an object to the predicative unhappy,

which is part of the predicate - the sentence level.)

He will come tomorrow. (Tomorrow is an adverbial modifier to the verb-predicate - the sentence level.)

You seem very tired. (Very is an adverbial modifier to the adjective tired, which is part of the predicate –

the sentence level.)

Poor Amy could not answer. (Poor is an attribute to the noun, which is the subject - the sentence level.)

 

In other cases objects, adverbial modifiers, attributes and appositions are included in various phrases within which they are not usually treated separately, the whole phrase functioning as part of the sentence on the sentence level.

 

He insisted on going by train. (On going by train is an object to the verb-predicate - the sentence level;

within the phrase on going by train we distinguish an adverbial modifier by train referring to the word-

form going - the phrase level.)

When analysing a sentence we deal mainly with the sentence level only, unless it is necessary for some reason to state the syntactical relations between the words within a phrase.

The subject

§ 40. Every English sentence but the one-member and the imperative one must have a subject. The subject is one of the two main parts of the, sentence. The most important feature of the subject in English is that in declarative sentences it normally comes immediately before the predicate, whereas in questions its position is immediately after an operator. It means that in English sentences any word or words which occur in these positions are to be treated asthe subject of the sentence.

The subject determines the form of the verbal part of the predicate as regards its number and person.




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