21 Nov Summary of chapters 4, and 5 in Kim & Sells (2008). It should consist of an introduction, body, and conclusion. (4 points)
Summary of chapters 4, and 5 in Kim & Sells (2008). It should consist of an introduction, body, and conclusion. (4 points)
it should include the following components:
1. A brief overview of the chapters (4, and 5).
2. The notes you took during the classes covering the chapters. Write, a detailed description of some aspects of the chapters and the experience that you felt was particularly meaningful for you.
3. A discussion of what you have personally learned, -your weaknesses and your strengths. Also, discuss your plans for improving your learning experience “of some aspects in the chapters”, how you are going to use the internet “in particular” to fill the gaps in your understanding.
should be written in around 500 words.
English Syntax: An Introduction
Jong-Bok Kim and Peter Sells
January 11, 2008
CENTER FOR THE STUDY
OF LANGUAGE AND INFORMATION
1 Some Basic Properties of English Syntax 1
1.1 Some Remarks on the Essence of Human Language 1
1.2 How We Discover Rules 4
1.3 Why Do We Study Syntax and What Is It Good for? 7
1.4 Exercises 9
2 From Words to Major Phrase Types 11
2.1 Introduction 11
2.2 Lexical Categories 12
2.2.1 Determining the Lexical Categories 12
2.3 Grammar with Lexical Categories 17
2.4 Phrasal Categories 19
2.5 Phrase Structure Rules 22
2.5.1 NP: Noun Phrase 22
2.5.2 VP: Verb Phrase 23
2.5.3 AP: Adjective Phrase 25
2.5.4 AdvP: Adverb Phrase 25
2.5.5 PP: Preposition Phrase 26
2.6 Grammar with Phrases 26
2.7 Exercises 31
3 SyntacticForms, GrammaticalFunctions, and Semantic Roles 35
3.1 Introduction 35
3.2 Grammatical Functions 36
vi / ENGLISH SYNTAX: AN INTRODUCTION
3.2.1 Subjects 36
3.2.2 Direct and Indirect Objects 38
3.2.3 Predicative Complements 39
3.2.4 Oblique Complements 40
3.2.5 Modifiers 40
3.3 Form and Function Together 41
3.4 Semantic Roles 43
3.5 Exercises 46
4 Head, Complements, and Modifiers 49
4.1 Projections from Lexical Heads to Phrases 49
4.1.1 Internal vs. External Syntax 49
4.1.2 Notion of Head, Complements, and Modifiers 50
4.2 Differences between Complements and Modifiers 52
4.3 PS Rules, X′-Rules, and Features 55
4.4 Lexicon and Feature Structures 62
4.4.1 Feature Structures and Basic Operations 62
4.4.2 Feature Structures for Linguistic Entities 65
4.4.3 Argument Realization 66
4.4.4 Verb Types and Argument Structure 67
4.5 Exercises 71
5 More on Subjects and Complements 73
5.1 Grammar Rules and Principles 73
5.2 Feature Specifications on the Complement Values 76
5.2.1 Complements of Verbs 76
5.2.2 Complements of Adjectives 80
5.2.3 Complements of Common Nouns 82
5.3 Feature Specifications for the Subject 83
5.4 Clausal Complementor Subject 84
5.4.1 Verbs Selecting a Clausal Complement 84
5.4.2 Verbs Selecting a Clausal Subject 90
5.4.3 Adjectives Selecting a Clausal Complement 91
5.4.4 Nouns Selecting a Clausal Complement 93
5.4.5 Prepositions Selecting a Clausal Complement 94
5.5 Exercises 95
CONTENTS / vii
6 Noun Phrases and Agreement 97
6.1 Classification of Nouns 97
6.2 Syntactic Structures 98
6.2.1 Common Nouns 98
6.2.2 Pronouns 100
6.2.3 Proper Nouns 100
6.3 AgreementTypes and Morpho-syntacticFeatures 101
6.3.1 Noun-Determiner Agreement 101
6.3.2 Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement 103
6.3.3 Subject-Verb Agreement 103
6.4 Semantic AgreementFeatures 105
6.5 Partitive NPs and Agreement 109
6.5.1 Basic Properties 109
6.5.2 Two Types of Partitive NPs 111
6.5.3 Measure Noun Phrases 116
6.6 Modifying an NP 118
6.6.1 Adjectives as Prenominal Modifiers 118
6.6.2 Postnominal Modifiers 119
6.7 Exercises 121
7 Raising and ControlConstructions 125
7.1 Raising and Control Predicates 125
7.2 Differences between Raising and Control Verbs 126
7.2.1 Subject Raising and Control 126
7.2.2 Object Raising and Control 129
7.3 A Simple TransformationalApproach 130
7.4 A NontransformationalApproach 132
7.4.1 Identical Syntactic Structures 132
7.4.2 Differences in Subcategorization Information 134
7.4.3 Mismatch between Meaning and Structure 138
7.5 Explaining the Differences 141
7.5.1 Expletive Subject and Object 141
7.5.2 Meaning Preservation 142
7.5.3 Subject vs. Object Control Verbs 143
7.6 Exercises 145
viii / ENGLISH SYNTAX: AN INTRODUCTION
8 Auxiliary Constructions 149
8.1 Basic Issues 149
8.2 TransformationalAnalyses 151
8.3 A Lexicalist Analysis 152
8.3.1 Modals 152
8.3.2 Be and Have 155
8.3.3 Periphrastic do 157
8.3.4 Infinitival Clause Marker to 160
8.4 Explaining the NICE Properties 160
8.4.1 Auxiliaries with Negation 160
8.4.2 Auxiliaries with Inversion 164
8.4.3 Contracted Auxiliaries 167
8.4.4 Auxiliaries with Ellipsis 169
8.5 Exercises 172
9 Passive Constructions 175
9.1 Introduction 175
9.2 Relationships between Active and Passive 176
9.3 Approaches to Passive 178
9.3.1 From Structural Description to Structural Change 178
9.3.2 A Transformational Approach 179
9.3.3 A Lexicalist Approach 180
9.4 Prepositional Passives 186
9.5 Exercises 190
10 Wh-Questions 193
10.1 Clausal Types and Interrogatives 193
10.2 Movementvs. Feature Percolation 195
10.3 Feature Percolation with No Abstract Elements 197
10.3.1 Basic Systems 197
10.3.2 Non-subject Wh-questions 199
10.3.3 Subject Wh-Questions 204
10.4 Indirect Questions 208
10.4.1 Basic Structure 208
10.4.2 Non-Wh Indirect Questions 213
10.4.3 Infinitival Indirect Questions 214
10.4.4 Adjunct wh-questions 217
10.5 Exercises 220
CONTENTS / ix
11 Relative Clause Constructions 223
11.1 Introduction 223
11.2 Non-subject Wh-Relative Clauses 224
11.3 Subject Relative Clauses 229
11.4 That-relative clauses 231
11.5 Infinitival and Bare Relative Clauses 233
11.6 Restrictive vs. Nonrestrictive Relative Clauses 236
11.7 Constraints on the GAP 239
11.8 Exercises 243
12 Special Constructions 245
12.1 Introduction 245
12.2 ‘Easy’ Constructions 246
12.2.1 Basic Properties 246
12.2.2 Transformational Analyses 247
12.2.3 A Lexicalist Analysis 248
12.3 Extraposition 252
12.3.1 Basic Properties 252
12.3.2 Transformational Analysis 253
12.3.3 A Lexicalist Analysis 254
12.4 Cleft constructions 258
12.4.1 Basic Properties 258
12.4.2 Distributional Properties of the Three clefts 259
12.4.3 Syntactic Structures of the Three Types of Cleft: Movement Analyses 260
12.4.4 Lexically-Based Analyses 262
12.5 Exercises 270
One important aspect of teaching English syntax (to native and nonnative undergraduate stu-
dents alike) involves the balance in the overall approach between facts and theory. We under-
stand that one important goal of teaching English syntax to undergraduate students is to help
students enhance their understanding of the structure of English in a systematic and scientific
way. Basic knowledgeof this kind is essential for students to move on the next stages, in which
they will be able to perform linguistic analyses for simple as well as complex English phe-
nomena. This new introductory textbook has been developed with this goal in mind. The book
focuses primarilyon the descriptive facts of English syntax, presented in a way that encourages
students to develop keen insights into the English data. It then proceeds with the basic, theoret-
ical conceptsof generativegrammar from which students can developabilities to think, reason,
and analyze English sentences from linguistic points of view.
We owe a great deal of intellectual debt to the previous textbooks and literature on English
syntax. In particular, much of the content, as well as our exercises, has been inspired by and
adopted from renowned textbooks such as Aarts (1997), Baker (1997), Borsley (1991, 1996),
Radford (1988, 1997, 2004), Sag et al. (2003), to list just a few. We acknowledge our debt to
these works, which have set the course for teaching syntax over the years.
Within this book, Chapters 1 to 5 cover the fundamental notions of English grammar. We
start with the basic properties of English words, and then rules for combining these words to
form well-formed phrases and, ultimately, clauses. These chapters guide students through the
basic concepts of syntactic analysis such as lexical categories, phrasal types, heads, comple-
ments, and modifiers. In Chapter 4, as a way of formalizing the observed generalizations, the
textbook introduces the feature structure system of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar
(HPSG, Pollard and Sag (1994), Sag et al. (2003)) which places strong emphasis on the role of
lexical properties and the interactions among grammatical components.
From Chapter 6 on, the bookdiscusses major constructionsof English within a holistic view
of grammar allowing interactions of various grammatical properties including syntactic forms,
their grammatical functions, their semantic roles, and overall aspects of clausal meaning. In
Chapter 6, we introduce English subject verb agreement, and concentrate on interrelationships
xii / ENGLISH SYNTAX: AN INTRODUCTION
amongdifferentgrammatical componentswhich play crucial interacting roles in English agree-
ment phenomena. In particular, this chapter shows that once we allow morphological informa-
tion to interface with the system of syntax, semantics, or even pragmatics, we can providegood
solutions for some puzzlingEnglish agreementphenomena,within a principled theory.Chapter
7 covers raising and control phenomena, and provides insights into the properties of the two
different constructions, which are famously rather similar in terms of syntactic structures, but
different in termsofsemantics.Chapter8dealswith theEnglishauxiliarysystem, itself remark-
able in that a relatively small number of elements interact with each other in complicated and
intriguingways. This chapter assigns the precise lexical information to auxiliaryverbsandcon-
structional constraints sensitive to the presence of an auxiliary verb. This allows us to express
generalizations among auxiliary-sensitive phenomena such as negation, inversion, contraction,
and ellipsis, which we would otherwise be missed.
From Chapter 9 through Chapter 12, the textbook discusses how to capture systematic re-
lations between related constructions. Chapter 9 deals with the relationships between active
and passive voice clauses. Studying this chapter, students will be able to fully understand why,
how,andwhen to choosebetweencanonical andpassive constructions.Chapters10 and11 deal
with wh-questionsand relative clause constructions, often called non-local or long-distance de-
pendency constructions, in the sense that a gap and its filler are in a potentially long-distance
relationship. These two chapters present the basic properties of these constructions and show
how the mechanism of feature percolation is a crucial part of a systematic account for them.
The final chapterof the bookcovers the so-called ‘tough’constructions, extraposition,and cleft
constructions. These constructions are also based on long-distance dependencies, but different
from the constructions in chapters 10 and 11. The goal of all these chapters is the present a
groundwork of facts, which students will then have in hand, in order to consider theoretical
accounts which apply in precise ways.
We have tried to make each chapter maximally accessible. We provide clear, simple tree
diagrams which will help students understand the structures of English and develop analytic
skills to English syntax. The theoretical notions are kept as simple yet precise as possible so
that studentscan applyanduse themin analyzingEnglish sentences.Each chapteralso contains
exercises ranging from simple to challenging, aiming to promote deeper understanding of the
factual and theoretical contents of each chapter.
Numerous people have helped us in writing this textbook, in various ways. We thank for
their comments in variousplaces, help and interest in our textbook: [……………………………..]We
also thank teachers and colleagues in Kyung Hee University and Stanford University for their
constant encouragement over the years. Our gratitude also goes to undergraduate and graduate
students at KyungHee University who used the draft of this as the textbookand raised so many
questions that help us reshape its structure as well as contents. We also thank Jinyoung Kim,
Dongjun Lee, and Juwon Lee for their administrative help. We also owe out thanks to Dikran
Karagueuzian, Director of CSLI Publications, for his patience and support, as well as Lauri
Kanerva for his help in matters of production. We also thank Kaunghi Un for helping us with
PREFACE / xiii
Lastly, but not the least, we also truly thank our close friends and family memberswho gave
usunconditionalloveandsupport ineverypossible regard.We dedicate thisbooktoourbeloved
ones who with true love and refreshing and comforting words have lead us to think ‘wise and
syntactic’ when we are spiritually and physically down.
Some Basic Properties of English Syntax
1.1 Some Remarks on the Essence of Human Language
One of the crucial functions of any human language, such as English or Korean, is to convey
various kinds of information from the everyday to the highly academic. Language provides a
means for us to describe how to cook, how to remove cherry stains, how to understand English
grammar, or how to provide a convincing argument. We commonly consider certain properties
of language to be key essential features from which the basic study of linguistics starts.
The first well-known property (as emphasized by Saussure 1916) is that there is no moti-
vated relationship between sounds and meanings. This is simply observed in the fact that the same meaning is usually expressed by a different sounding-word in a different language
(think of house, maison, casa). For words such as hotdog, desk, dog, bike, hamburger, cran-
berry, sweetbread, their meanings have nothing to do with their shapes. For example, the word
hotdog has no relationship with a dog which is or feels hot. There is just an arbitrary relation-
ship between the word’s sound and its meaning: this relationship is decided by the convention
of the community the speakers belong to.
The second important feature of language, and one more central to syntax, is that language makes infinite use of finite set of rules or principles, the observation of which led the de-
velopment of generative linguistics in the 20th century (cf. Chomsky 1965). A language is a system for combining its parts in infinitely manyways. One piece ofevidenceof the system can
be observed in word-order restrictions. If a sentence is an arrangement of words and we have
5 words such as man, ball, a, the, and kicked, how many possible combinations can we have
from these five words? More importantly, are all of these combinationsgrammatical sentences?
Mathematically, the number of possible combinations of 5 words is 5! (factorial), equalling
120 instances. But among these 120 possible combinations, only 6 form grammatical English
(1) a. The man kicked a ball.
1Examples like (1e) and (1f) are called ‘topicalization’ sentences in which the topic expression (the ball and the
man), already mentioned and understood in the given context, is placed in the sentence initial position. See Lambrecht
(1994) and references therein.
2 / ENGLISH SYNTAX: AN INTRODUCTION
b. A man kicked the ball.
c. The ball kicked a man.
d. A ball kicked the man.
e. The ball, a man kicked.
f. The man, a ball kicked.
All the other 114 combinations, a few of which are given in (2), are unacceptable to native
speakers of English. We use the notation * to indicate that a hypothesized example is ungram-
(2) a. *Kicked the man the ball.
b. *Man the ball kicked the.
c. *The man a ball kicked.
It is clear that there are certain rules in English for combining words. These rules constrain
which words can be combined togetheror how they may be ordered, sometimes in groups,with
respect to each other.
Such combinatory rules also play important roles in our understanding of the syntax of an
example like (3a).2 Whatever these rules are, they should give a different status to (3b), an
example which is judged ungrammatical by native speakers even though the intended meaning
of the speaker is relatively clear and understandable.
(3) a. Kim lives in the house Lee sold to her.
b. *Kim lives in the house Lee sold it to her.
The requirementof such combinatoryknowledgealso providesan argument for the assumption
thatwe use just a finite set of resources in producinggrammatical sentences, and thatwe do not
just rely on the meaning of words involved. Consider the examples in (4):
(4) a. *Kim fond of Lee.
b. Kim is fond of Lee.
Even though it is not difficult to understand the meaning of (4a), English has a structural re-
quirement for the verb is as in (4b).
Morenaturalevidenceof the ‘finite setof rulesandprinciples’ ideacanbefoundincognitive,
creativeabilities.Speakersareunconsciousof the ruleswhich theyuse all the time, andhaveno
difficulties inproducingorunderstandingsentenceswhich theyhaveneverheard,seen,or talked
about before. For example, even though we may well not have seen the following sentence
before, we can understand its meaning if we have a linguistic competence in English:
(5) In January 2002, a dull star in an obscure constellation suddenly became 600,000 times
more luminous than our Sun, temporarily making it the brightest star in our galaxy.
A related part of this competence is that a language speaker can produce an infinite number
of grammatical sentences. For example, given the simple sentence (6a), we can make a more
2Starting in Chapter 2, we will see these combinatory rules.
SOME BASIC PROPERTIES OF ENGLISH SYNTAX / 3
complex one like (6b) by adding the adjective tall. To this sentence, we can again add another
adjective handsome as in (6c). We could continue adding adjectives, theoretically enabling us
to generate an infinitive number of sentences:
(6) a. The man kicked the ball.
b. The tall man kicked the ball.
c. The handsome, tall man kicked the ball.
d. The handsome, tall, nice man kicked the ball.
e. . . .
One might argue that since the number of English adjectives could be limited, there would be a
dead-end to this process. However, no one would find themselves lost for another way to keep
the process going (cf. Sag et al. 2003):
(7) a. Some sentences can go on.
b. Some sentences can go on and on.
c. Some sentences can go on and on and on.
d. Some sentences can go on and on and on and on.
e. . . .
To (7a), we add the string and on, producing a longer one (7b). To this resulting sentence (7c),
we once again add and on. We could in principle go on adding without stopping: this is enough
to prove that we could make an infinite number of well-formed English sentences.3
Given these observations, how then can we explain the fact that we can produce or under-
stand an infinite number of grammatical sentences that we have never heard or seen before? It
seems implausible to consider thatwe somehowmemorizeeveryexample,and in factwe donot
(Pullum and Scholz 2002). We know that this could not be true, in particular when we consider
that native speakers can generate an infinite numberof infinitely long sentences, in principle. In
addition, there is limit to the amount of information our brain can keep track of, and it would
be implausible to think that we store an infinite number of sentences and retrieve whenever we
need to do so.
Theseconsiderations imply thata moreappropriatehypothesiswouldbesomething like (8):4
(8) All native speakers have a grammatical competence which can generate an infinite set
of grammatical sentences from a finite set of resources.
Thishypothesishasbeengenerallyacceptedbymost linguists, andhasbeen takenas the subject
matter of syntactic theory. In terms of grammar, this grammatical competence is hypothesized
to characterize a generative grammar, which we then can define as follows (for English, in
this instance): 3Thinkofasimple analogy: what is the longest number?Yet, howmanynumbersdoyouknow?Thesecond question
only makes sense if the answer is 0–9 (ten digits). 4The notion of ‘competence’ is often compared with that of ‘performance’ (Chomsky 1965). Competence refers
to speakers’ internalized knowledge of their language, whereas performance refers to actual usage of this abstract
knowledge of language.
4 / ENGLISH SYNTAX: AN INTRODUCTION
(9) Generative Grammar:
AnEnglishgenerativegrammaris theonethatcangeneratean infinite setofwell-formed
English sentences from a finite set of rules or principles.
The job of syntax is thus to discoverand formulate these rules or principles.5 These rules tell us
how words are put together to form grammatical phrases and sentences. Generative grammar,
or generative syntax, thus aims to define these rules which will characterize all of the sentences
which native speakers will accept as well-formed and grammatical.
1.2 How We Discover Rules
How can we then find out what the generative rules of English syntax are? These rules are
present in the speakers’ minds, but are not consciously accessible; speakers cannot articulate
their content, if asked to do so. Hence we discover the rules indirectly, and of the several meth-
ods for inferring these hidden rules, hypotheses based on the observed data of the given lan-
guage are perhaps the most reliable. These data can come from speakers’ judgments – known
as intuitions – or from collected data sets – often called corpora. Linguistics is in one sense
an empirical science as it places a strong emphasis on investigating the data underlying a phe-
nomenon of study.
The canonical steps for doing empirical research can be summarized as follows:
. Step I: Data collection and observation.
. Step II: Make a hypothesis to cover the first set of data.
. Step III: Check the hypothesiswith more data.
. Step IV: Revise the hypothesis, if necessary. Let us see how these steps work for discovering one of the grammar rules in English, in partic-
ular, the rule for distinguishing count and non-countnouns:6
[Step I: Observing Data] To discover a grammar rule, the first thing we need to do is to
check out grammatical and ungrammatical variants of the expression in question. For example,
let us look at the usage of the word evidence:
(10) Data Set 1: evidence
a. *The professor found some strong evidences of water on Mars.
b. *The professor was hoping for a strong evidence.
5In generative syntax, ‘rules’ refers not to ‘prescriptive rules’ but to ‘descriptive rules’. Prescriptive rules are those
which disfavor or even discredit certain usages; these prescribe forms which are generally in use, as in (i). Meanwhile,
descriptive rules are meant to characterize whatever forms speakers actually use, with any social, moral, or intellectual
(i) a. Do not end a sentence with a preposition.
b. Avoid double negatives.
c. Avoid split infinitives.
The spoken performance of most English speakers will often contain examples which violate such prescriptive rules. 6Much of the discussion and data in this section are adopted from Baker, C.L. (1995).
SOME BASIC PROPERTIES OF ENGLISH SYNTAX / 5
c. *The evidence that John found was more helpful than the one that Smith found.
What can you tell from these examples? We can make the following observations:
(11) Observation 1:
a. evidence cannot be used in the plural.
b. evidence cannot be used with the indefinite article a(n).
c. evidence cannot be referred to by the pronoun one.
In any scientific research one example is not enough to draw any conclusion. However, we
can easily find more words that behave like evidence:
(12) Data Set 2: equipment
a. *We had hoped to get three new equipments every month, but we only had enough
money to get an equipment every two weeks.
b. *The equipmentwe bought last year was more expensive than the one we bought this
We thus extend Observation 1 a little bit further:
(13) Observation 2:
a. evidence/equipment cannot be used in the plural.
b. evidence/equipment cannot be used with the indefinite article a(n).
c. evidence/equipment cannot be referred to by the pronoun one.
It is usually necessary to find contrastive examples to understand the range of a given observa-
tion. For instance, words like clue and tool act differently:
(14) Data Set 3: clue
a. The professor gave John some good clues for the question.
b. The student was hoping for a good clue.
c. The clue that John got was more helpful than the one that Smith got.
(15) Data Set 4: tool
a. The teacher gave John some good tools for the purpose.
b. The student was hoping for a tool.
c. The tool that Jones got was more helpful than the one that Smith got.
Unlike equipment and evidence, the nouns clue and tool can be used in the test linguistic con-
texts we set up. We thus can add Observation 3, different from Observation 2:
(16) Observation 3:
a. clue/tool can be used in the plural.
b. clue/tool can be used with the indefinite article a(n).
c. clue/tool can be referred to by the pronoun one.
6 / ENGLISH SYNTAX: AN INTRODUCTION
[Step II: Forming a Hypothesis] From the data and observations we have made so far, can we make any hypothesis about the English grammar rule in question? One hypothesis that we
can make is something like the following:
(17) First Hypothesis:
English has at least two groups of nouns, Group I (count nouns) and Group II (non-
count nouns), diagnosed by tests of plurality, the indefinite article, and the pronoun
[Step III: Checking the Hypothesis] Once we have formed such a hypothesis, we need to check out if it is true of other data, and also see if it can bring other analytical consequences.
A little further thought allows us to find support for the two-way distinction for nouns. For
example, consider the usage of much and many:
(18) a. much evidence, much equipment, information, much furniture, much advice
b. *much clue, *much tool, *much armchair, *much bags
(19) a. *many evidence, *many equipment, *many information, *many furniture, *many ad-
b. many clues, many tools, many suggestions, many armchairs
As observed here, count nouns can occur only with many, whereas non-count nouns can com-
bine with much. Similar support can be found from the usage of little and few:
(20) a. little evidence, little equipment, little advice, little information
b. *little clue, *little tool, *little suggestion, *little armchair
(21) a. *few evidence, *few equipment, *few furniture, *few advice, *few information
b. few clues, few tools, suggestions, few armchairs
The word little can occur with non-count nouns like evidence, yet few cannot. Meanwhile, few
occurs only with count nouns.
Given these data, it appears that the two-way distinction is quite plausible and persuasive.
We can now ask if this distinction into just two groups is really enough for the classification of
nouns. Consider the following examples with cake:
(22) a. The mayor gave John some good cakes.
b. The president was hoping for a good cake.
c. The cake that Jones got was more delicious than the one that Smith got.
Similar behavior can be observed with a noun like beer, too:
(23) a. The bartender gave John some good beers.
b. No one knows how to tell from a good beer to a bad one.
These data show us that cake and beer may be classified as count nouns. However, observe
SOME BASIC PROPERTIES OF ENGLISH SYNTAX / 7
(24) a. My pastor says I ate too much cake.
b. The students drank too much beer last night.
(25) a. We recommend to eat less cake and pastry.
b. People now drink less beer.
The data mean that cake and beer can also be used as non-count nouns since that can be used
with less or much.
[Step IV: Revising the Hypothesis] The examples in (24) and (25) imply that there is an- othergroupofnouns that canbeusedasbothcountandnon-countnouns.This leadsus to revise
the hypothesis in (17) as following:
(26) Revised Hypothesis:
There are at least three groups of nouns: Group 1 (count nouns), Group 2 (non-count
nouns), and Group 3 (count and non-count).
We can expect that context will determine whether a Group 3 noun is used as count or as non-
As we have observed so far, the process of finding finite grammar rules crucially hinges on
finding data, drawing generalizations, making a hypothesis, and revising this hypothesis with
1.3 Why Do We Study Syntax and What Is It Good for?
Thereare many reasons for studyingsyntax, fromgeneralhumanisticor behavioralmotivations
to much more specific goals such as those in the following:
. To help us to illustrate the patterns of English more effectively and clearly.
. To enable us to analyze the structure of English sentences in a systematic and explicit way. For example, let us consider how we could use the syntactic notion of head, which refers
to the essential element within a phrase. The following is a short and informal rule for English
(27) In English, the main verb agrees with the head element of the subject.
This informal rule can pinpointwhat is wrong with the following two examples:
(28) a. *The recent strike by pilots have cost the country a great d
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