Basic Sentence Transformations Chapter 8 and More
Reason for Transformations • Canonical vs. non-canonical • Arbitrariness vs. Iconicity • Proximity • First things first • More important before less important • Conceptually close things - e.g. noun phrase
Passives • Functions • To demote the Agent • To promote the Patient • To make the Verb less active and more stative • Agentless Passives (He was fired.) • Get Passives (He got fired by the boss.) • Resultative Adjectives (He is/got drunk.)
Passives and Style • Student writers are often discouraged from using passives. (if you’ll pardon my passive) • They can create confusion or be difficult to process (p. 248) • They can make the sentence more wordy • Sometimes, they are useful (p. 249)
Indirect Object Transformation • Moving the indirect object (to/for + NP) before the direct object and eliminate the preposition. • He gave him the present. (< He gave the present to him.) • He baked me a cake. (< He baked a cake for me.) • Function: to promote the indirect object • Doesn’t work if the indirect object is a place adverbial. (*He drove Chicago the car.) • Indirect object is the recipient or benefactor of the direct object
Object Complements • Object complements refer to the direct object • I consider him a fool.; I want him arrested. • If an object complement is an NP, then the sentence has two NPs after the verb • Pages 239-240; Edwin considers/bought Eleanor a jewel.
Question Transformations • Wh-Question • Invert the subject and the first auxiliary • Move the Wh-Word to the front • Whom will he choose? • Yes-No Question • Invert the subject and the first auxiliary • Will he choose me? • Tag Question • At the end of the sentence, put the first auxiliary followed by not if the sentence is positive and then a pronominal form of the subject • He’ll choose me, won’t he?/He won’t choose me, will he?
Hierarchy of Certainty in Questions Answer Unknown Answer Known
Diagramming Wh-Questions we will eat What S VP NP NP MVP Pronoun AUX MV Pronoun we will eat what
Examples of Wh-Questions • Subject (Who is here? What bit me?) • Direct Object (Whomdid you call? What will we eat?) • Indirect Object (To whom did you give the present to? For whom did you bake the cake?) • Object of a preposition (In whom shall we place our trust? Onto what did you put the book.) • Possessor (Whose book is this? In which/what box will we find the candy?)
Other Transformations • Imperative • Understood second person subject (sg. or pl.) • Open the door. • Negative • Put not after the first auxiliary • Tom doesn’t like me. • Left Dislocation (Tom, he likes me.) • Y-Movement (Tom he likes.)
Four uses of the Verb, Be • As a linking verb (e.g., They are nice.) • As an auxiliary with the present participle form of the main verb to form the progressive (They are dancing.) • As an auxiliary with the past participle form of the main verb to form the passive (They were surprised by the answer.) • As an existential (There is a Santa Claus.) • Exercise 8.9, p. 253
Rules involving the first auxiliary • Wh-Question, Yes/No-Question, Tag Question, Negative • If a sentence does not have a first auxiliary, then insert do as the first auxiliary. • If the main verb is Be, do not insert do.