CAS LX 522 Syntax I. Week 2a. Categories. Describing the grammatical system. Our goal is to describe the systematic grammatical knowledge that people have.
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Our goal is to describe the systematic grammatical knowledge that people have.
To describe how words can be combined (and how they cannot be combined) into sentences requires classification of words into different groups that each share syntactic properties, the syntactic categories.
Nouns generally are used to refer to something, a person, an object, an abstract idea.
Nouns can often have a plural.
But: sheep, deer
But: policy decisions
The distinction between singular and plural is a grammatical distinction. The difference between dog and cat is a difference of content, whereas the difference between dog and dogs is predictable if you know what dog means. Predictable things are part of the grammar.
Kind of looks like a preposition, but it’s not. Prepositions take nouns, to as a P has a kind of contentful meaning (endpoint of a path). Infinitival to takes (bare) verbs only, means nothing (apart from “untensed”).