47. Verbals. Participle I. Semi-predicative constructions with Participle I




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47. Verbals. Participle I. Semi-predicative constructions with Participle I

All verbal forms fall into two major sets: finite and non-finite. The term "finite'' is derived from the Latin term "verbum finitum", which shows that these words denote actions developing in time.

Non-finite forms of the verb, the infinitive, the gerund, participle I (present participle) and participle II (past participle), are otherwise called "verbals", or "verbids". The term, introduced by O. Jespersen, means that they are not verbs in the proper sense of the word, because they combine features of the verb with features of other notional parts of speech.

The non-verbal features of verbids are as follows: 1) they do not denote pure processes, but present them as specific kinds of substances and properties; 2) they are not conjugated according to the categories of person and number, have no tense or mood forms; in some contexts they are combined with the verbs like non-verbal parts of speech: 3) they never function as independent predicates; their functions are those characteristic for other notional parts of speech.

^ The verbal features of verbids are as follows: 1) their grammatical meaning is basically processual; 2) they have aspect and voice forms and verbal combinability with direct objects and adverbial modifiers; 3) they can express predication in specific semi-predicativc constructions.

Participle I (present participle) is fully homonymous with the gerund: it is also an 'ing-forrn' (cf.:writing, being written, having written, having been written). It denotes processual quality, combining verbal features with features of the adjective and the adverb. The verb-type combinability of participle I is shown in its combinations with nouns denoting the subject and the object of the action, e.g.: her entering the room, with modifying adverbs and with auxiliary verbs in the analytical forms of the verb; the adjective-type combinability of participlc I is manifested in its combinations with modified nouns and modifying adverbs of degree, e.g.: an extremely maddening presence; the adverb-type combinability of the participle is revealed in its combinations with modified verbs, e.g.: to speak stuttering at every word. In its free use, participle I can function as a predicative, e.g.: Her presence is extremely maddening to me; as an attribute, e.g.: The fence surrounding the garden was newly painted; and as an adverbial modifier, e.g.: While waiting he whistled.

Like any other verbid, participle I can form semi-predicative constructions if it is combined with the noun or the pronoun denoting the subject of the action; for example, complex object with participle I, e.g.: / saw her entering the room; complex subject with participle I, e.g.: She was seen entering the room. In complex object and complex subject constructions the difference between the infinitive and participle I lies in the presentation of the process: participle I presents the process as developing, cf.: I often heard her sing in the backyard. - I hear her singing in the backyard.

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