ENGL 3040 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Adjective Phrase, Adverbial Phrase, Linking Verb

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Ac tive / Pa s s ive Verb Form s
Ac tive s ente nce s, the thing doing the a ction is the subject of the s e nte nce and the thing
rece iving the a ction is the obje ct. Mo s t s en te n c e s a re a ctive .
Pa s s ive s e nte nces , the thing re ce iving the action is the s ubje ct of the s ente nce a nd the
thing doing the a ction is optiona lly include d ne a r the end of the se nte nce . You can us e
the pa s s ive form if you think tha t the thing re ce iving the a ction is more important or
should be empha s ize d. You ca n a lso us e the pa s sive form if you do not know who is
doing the a ction or if you do not want to me ntion who is doing the a ction.
Ag e n t vs Su b je c t
As nouns the diffe re nce be twe e n s ubje ct and a ge nt is tha t subject is (la be l) in a claus e:
the word or word group (us ua lly a no u n p h ra s e ) tha t is dea lt with in a ctive cla us es with
verbs de noting an a ction, the s ubje ct a nd the a ctor a re usua lly the s a me while a ge nt is
one who exe rts power, or ha s the powe r to a ct; a n a ctor.
As a n a d je c tive s ub je c t is like ly to be a ffe cted by or to e xpe rience some thing.
As a ve rb s ubje c t is to ca use (s ome one or something) to unde rgo a pa rticula r
e xpe rie nce , e s pe cia lly one that is unplea sa nt or unwante d.
The ag e n t is re la te d to c on c e pt dis tinc t fro m th e s ub je c t o f a s e nte n c e .
A s ub jec t is th e p a rt of a s e n ten c e o r c la u s e th at c om m o n ly ind ic a te s (a) wh a t it is
a b ou t, o r (b) wh o or wh at p e rfo rm s th e a c tion (th a t is , the a g e nt).
Pa s s ive Voic e re fe rs to a type of s e nte nce or cla us e in which the subje ct re ce ives the
a ction of the ve rb. Ex. A good time wa s ha d by a ll.
Ac tive Vo ic e refe rs to a type of s e nte nce or cla use in which the s ubje ct pe rforms or
ca us e s the a ction e xpre s s e d by the verb. Ex. The office r wrote the cita tion.
Neve r us e th e pa s s ive wh e re yo u c a n us e th e ac tive .” By George Orwell
Orde r o f Ad jec tive s
Ad je c tive is a word tha t d e s crib e s s omething (a noun) or s ome one (a pe rs on).
Adje ctives de noting a ttribute s usua lly occur in a s pec ific ord e r. Adjective orde r in
Englis h is : Qua ntity or number, Qua lity or opinion, Size , Age , S ha pe, Color, P rope r
a dje ctive (ofte n na tiona lity, other pla ce of origin, or mate ria l), P urpose or qua lifier. EX.
Whe n the re a re thre e or more a dje ctives from the s ame a djective group, pla ce a comma
be twe e n e ach of the coordina te adje ctives :
We live in the big gre en, white a nd red hous e a t the end of the s tre et.
My friend los t a red, bla ck a nd white watch.
A comma is not pla ce d be twe e n a n a djective a nd the noun.
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Ad je c tive s s o m e time s a p pe a r a fte r th e ve rb (To Be )
He is s hort. She is ta ll.
Ad je c tive s s o m e time s a p pe a r b e fore a n o u n.
Red ca r. Old ha t.
BUT… Sometimes you want to use more than one adjective to describe something (or
some one ). IMPORTANT: The orde r of a dje ctive s be fore a noun IS NOT FIXED.
Some thing to ha ve in mind is that it doe s not sound na tura l using thre e or more
a dje ctive s in the s a me se ntence and it is very ra re to he a r four adjectives toge the r
before a noun.
A big fa t dog. An interesting old India n rug.
Ad je c tive s & Ad ve rb s , Ca n Yo u Te ll The m Apa rt?
Ad je c tive s modify nouns , pronouns , a nd groups of words functioning a s nouns .
Adje ctives a ns we r the que s tions What kind? , Which one s ? , or How ma ny?
Ad ve rb s a re wo rd s tha t m o d ify verbs , othe r a dverbs a nd adjectives . Adve rbs ans wer
the que stions How, Whe n, or Where ?
EXAMP LE:
The well tra ine d dog be ca me a plea s a nt compa nion.
adj.
adve rb
adj.
noun
verb
adj.
adj.
The
well
traine d
dog
beca me
a
ple as ant
Linkin g Ve rb s
The y join th e s u b jec t w/info tha t come s a fte r verbs . Sta te of be ing. Linking ve rbs a re
verbs tha t do not s how a ction; ins te a d, the linking verb re name s or de s cribe s the
subje ct. (he IS , that LOOKS , what WOULD BE) AKA copula r verb. (a m , is b e in g, wa s
be ing , h a ve be e n , h a d b e in g , m ig ht, will be c o m e , etc .…)
"The kitte n lo o ke d hap p y" the ve rb looke d is us e d a s a linking ve rb. Ma ny time s the
verb looke d is an a ction verb be ca us e s ome one is looking for s ome thing, but in the
e xa mple se nte nce, looke d de scribes the kitten in the p re d ic a te a nd tha t ma kes looke d
fun c tio n a s a linking ve rb. If the word ha ppy is use d in the s u b je c t, the n ha ppy would
ha ve be e n an ordina ry a dje ctive .
S u b je c t | P re d ic a te
The ha p p y c a t | loo ke d fo r th e b a ll. "Looked" functions a s a n a c tion ve rb .
The ca t | loo ke d h a p p y. "Looke d" functions a s a linkin g ve rb .
Ma ny importa nt ve rbs do not e xpre s s a ction; s ome ve rbs ca n link a noun or a n adjective
to the s ubject. This type of verb is ca lle d a lin kin g ve rb . The linking verb conne ction
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