lec curs, anul 2, sem 2

SENTENCE PROCESSES Foreword This book deals with the syntax of the complex sentence. Its name, Sentence Processes, reveals in fact the main topics of discussion: those processes that take place within the sentence, namely negation, interrogation, coordination and subordination. The book is addressed to those students that are part of the Long Distance Learning programme. It was designed for the specific purpose of helping students delve into the intricacies of syntax by themselves. This is why each theoretical section is lavishly accompanied by sets of exercises meant to help students imprint information in their memory with minimum effort. The optional exercises present in each section of this course are of a higher degree of difficulty and are meant to be helpful instruments for those learners that want to further improve their proficiency and at the same time practise the theoretical framework offered in the respective sections. This course is an instrument for students determined to acquire the most basic level of information. This is why I have limited myself to a more descriptive approach and have avoided stepping on more theoretical territories. Although they can be extremely rewarding when tackled, I think that, under the circumstances, this material is more profitable in this simple, if not subtle, form. My sincere gratitude and warmest thanks go to my number-one teacher, Mrs. Alexandra Cornilescu, to whom this book is heavily indebted. I couldn’t have written this without her precious help, advice and support. 1

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An English Grammar


Page 1: LEC Curs, Anul 2, Sem 2



This book deals with the syntax of the complex sentence. Its name, Sentence Processes, reveals

in fact the main topics of discussion: those processes that take place within the sentence, namely

negation, interrogation, coordination and subordination.

The book is addressed to those students that are part of the Long Distance Learning programme.

It was designed for the specific purpose of helping students delve into the intricacies of syntax by

themselves. This is why each theoretical section is lavishly accompanied by sets of exercises meant to

help students imprint information in their memory with minimum effort.

The optional exercises present in each section of this course are of a higher degree of difficulty

and are meant to be helpful instruments for those learners that want to further improve their proficiency

and at the same time practise the theoretical framework offered in the respective sections.

This course is an instrument for students determined to acquire the most basic level of

information. This is why I have limited myself to a more descriptive approach and have avoided

stepping on more theoretical territories. Although they can be extremely rewarding when tackled, I

think that, under the circumstances, this material is more profitable in this simple, if not subtle, form.

My sincere gratitude and warmest thanks go to my number-one teacher, Mrs. Alexandra

Cornilescu, to whom this book is heavily indebted. I couldn’t have written this without her precious

help, advice and support.

The author


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Aim of this unit: to introduce several key concepts that will facillitate a better understanding of

the next units

Objectives: to help students revise notions already discussed in previous linguistics classes.

This unit is devoted to a brief revision of some concepts that will be crucial for every section in

this course. We will therefore have to remember the meaning of such terms as:

Constituent (phrase)– any part of a sentence which is regarded as forming a distinct syntactic

unit within the overall structure of the sentence.

For instance, if we were to take the following example:

(1) Susan loves her mother very much.

( Susan îşi iubeşte foarte mult mama. )

we can identify the following constituents: Susan, loves, her mother, very much.

Each of the above identified elements can be said to form a distinct syntactic unit, since it has a

certain semantic and structural autonomy inside (1). Consequently, sequences of the kind her mother

very, or Susan loves her cannot be considered constituents, since they do not have a structural and

semantic unity. They are just strings, that is sequences fragmented at random.

Syntactic, Semantic, Pragmatic

Syntactic – relates to the structure of sentences

Semantic – relates to the meaning of words, sentences

Pragmatic – relates to the function of a sentence (utterance) inside discourse

In the following example,

(2) Give Susan the money and then send her away!

( Dă-i banii lui Susan şi apoi trimite-o de aici! )


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syntactically we are dealing with a compound sentence (where two main clauses are

coordinated by and), semantically the two sentences are perceived as sequential (the event in the first

sentence is followed by the one in the second) and pragmatically, we are dealing with a directive (i.e.

an order given to an interlocutor).

Auxiliary verbs – one of a small set of lexical items having certain properties in common with

verbs but also exhibiting a number of other distinct properties. The English auxiliaries are usually

divided into the modal auxiliaries (such as may, must, should, etc.) and the non-modal auxiliaries (such

as have, be).

Insertion – a procedure by which some element not previously present in a structure is added to

it. An example is the insertion of the element do in sentence (3):

(3) She told me the secret.

(Mi-a spus secretul.)

As a consequence of the insertion of do in (3) we obtain the following emphatic structure:

(4) She did tell me the secret.

( Mi-a spus într-adevăr secretul.)

The distribution of an element represents the full range of environments in which a lexical or

grammatical form can occur.

Consider, for instance, the following sentence:

(5) There is a cat on the mat.

(Pe preşul de la intrare se află o pisică.)

This sentence has a ‘special’ subject, an ‘empty’ there subject, which does not have a similar

correspondent in Romanian. This element cannot appear in any kind of context. It normally is allowed

in combination with be or with other similar verbs such as appear, live, etc. These are the contexts in

which there subjects are possible in English, and the set of these contexts can be referred to as the

distribution of there subjects.


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Complementary distribution – it might be the case that two rather similar elements are in

complementary distribution, that is they are so close in meaning and function that they cannot appear

together in the same context. One of the best known such pairs is that of the definite article the and the

demonstrative pronoun this/that. If the given context is the one under (6), let’s check if these two

elements are in complementary distribution or not:

(6) __________ book

(7) *the this book

(8) the book

(9) this book

As you can see, both (8) and (9) are correct structures, whereas (7) is not, as the star indicates.

Sentence (7) proves that the two elements cannot appear in the same given context. This means that

these elements are indeed in complementary distribution.


Define and illustrate, using your own examples: insertion, auxiliary verb, distribution,

complementary distribution, semantic, syntactic, pragmatic.

Activity 2

Identify the constituents in the following sentences:

Margaret was anxious to settle on a house before they left town to pay their annual visit to Mrs.

Munt. He was informed on Saturday at noon that he was going to be fired. How much, apart from his

distress for parents, this would really hurt, he had not yet been able to estimate.



1.1. Key terms

1.2. Assertive – non-assertive

1.3. Full – local negation

1.4. Negative vs. affirmative sentences. Tests for negativity

1.5. Instances of negation


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1.6. Polarity Items

1.7. Negative concord – non-negative concord languages

1.8. Conclusion. Key terms

Aim of this unit: to offer a brief presentation of the main issues related to ‘sentence negation’.

Objectives: to help students understand the differences between English and Romanian with

respect to this process (negation). To help students learn how to correctly formulate negative sentences

in English.

1.1. Assertive – non-assertive

We need to make a distinction between assertive and non-assertive sentences. For instance, a

sentence of the form:

(1) He offered her some chocolates.

(I-a oferit bomboane de ciocolată. )

is said to be an assertion, in the sense that it states something, it asserts something. This

example can be compared to:

(2)a. He didn’t offer her any chocolates.

( Nu i-a oferit bomboane de ciocolată. )

b. Did he offer her chocolates?

(Oare i-a oferit bomboane de ciocolată?)

The difference between example (1) and the examples under (2) is that the latter examples are

non-assertive, in that they do not state anything.

Consequently, a sentence can be non-assertive if it is negative or if it is a question. We do not

therefore have two independent systems:

- Positive vs. Negative


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- Declarative vs. Interrogative

but rather an interrelated system in which assertion involves both ‘positive’ and ‘declarative’

while non-assertion has a subsystem either ‘negative’ or ‘interrogative’. The relationship can be

represented as follows:

assertion - positive and declarative (e.g. They told her the secret.)

sentence positive ( e.g. Did they tell her the secret? )

interrogative negative (e.g. Didn’t they tell her the secret?)


negative (They didn’t tell her the secret.)

other (if –clauses, comparison, subjunctive)

Activity 1: Which of the following sentences are assertive and which are non-assertive?

They like her a lot. / Are you listening to me? / Aren’t you listening to me? / He never listens./

We didn’t come here just to talk. / Come with me./ Don’t do that./ If you like her, don’t bother her./

She can’t wait to read that book. / She finally admitted, didn’t she? / Hasn’t she arrived? / If you like

jazz, listen to this. / She is more interesting than anyone I have ever seen. / It is odd that you should

like Sartre so much.

The distinction assertive / non-assertive brings us to one of the main questions we need to

answer in this section: when is a sentence negative and how do we distinguish between various forms

of negation? We shall answer the second question in the following subsection.

1.2. Full – local negation

The first distinction to draw between various forms of negation is that of

Sentence vs. Word negation.


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For example, the sentences under (3) are considered instances of syntactic negation, whereas

those under (4) are considered to be forms of word negation:

(3) a. Susan doesn’t like her friends.

(Lui Susan nu-i place de prietenii ei.)

b. John is not happy.

(John nu e fericit)

(4) a. Susan dislikes her friends.

(Lui Susan nu-i place de prietenii ei.)

b. John is unhappy.

(John e nefericit.)

It is obvious that sentences under (3) are structurally different from those under (4) in that they

are marked by the presence of the negative word not. In the case of the sentences under (4), we can

speak more of a negative meaning than of a negative structure, since the negative word not is not

present there. There is also a difference in meaning between the two examples, since it is obvious that

the meaning of (3) is not really equivalent to that of (4).

A second distinction to be drawn here is between such examples as:

(5) Not long ago , I met a girl named Susan.

(Nu demult, am întâlnit o fată pe nume Susan .)

In this case, just like in the case of word negation, we speak about local negation in the sense

that the negative word not does not influence more than the first part of the sentence, more precisely

the phrase it is part of. In other words, the whole sentence under (5) has an affirmative dimension and

it is only the phrase not long ago that has a negative connotation. This is also called an instance of

phrasal negation, since the negative meaning is restricted to one constituent only. Example (6) gives us

however reason to speak about full negation, namely the whole sentence is negative and the word not

influences the whole meaning of the sentence:

(6) I didn’t meet a girl named Susan long ago.

(N-am întâlnit o fată pe nume Susan demult.)


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An interesting problem is posed by such examples as:

(7) a. She was not an unattractive woman.

(Nu era o femeie neatrăgătoare.)

b. He was not without intelligence.

(Nu era lipsit de inteligenţă.)

c. I was not a little worried.

(Nu mică mi-a fost îngrijorarea.)

The meaning of all these examples is a positive one: (7a) implies that she was an attractive

woman, (7b) implies that the guy there was quite intelligent, whereas (7c) states that I was very worried

about something. In other words, these sentences look negative, since the negative word not is present

inside them, but their meaning tells us a different story. We can say that we are dealing with a

combination of word and phrasal negation, where the word negation (unattractive, without intelligence,

a little worried) is cancelled by the presence of not: not unattractive = attractive .

Another name for the distinction between full negation and local (that is word and phrasal)

negation is supplied by the opposition syntactic vs. semantic negation. By syntactic negation we mean

negation at the level of the sentence ( i.e. the whole meaning of the sentence is negative). Semantic

negation will consequently refer to sentence bits with a negative meaning.

Activity 2: Which of the following sentences exhibit forms of semantic/ syntactic negation?

His observation is non-scientific and it is also irrelevant./ Bill isn’t interested in syntax and his

friends are not interested in syntax./ He disapproves of mothers going out to work./ He doesn’t approve

of mothers going out to work./ Nikita’s unpleasant face appeared on TV last Thursday night./ Nikita’s

unpleasant face did not appear on TV last Thursday night./ Nikita’s not very unpleasant face did not

appear on TV last Thursday night./ Nikita’s not very unpleasant face appeared on TV last night./

Nikita’s not very unpleasant face didn’t appear on TV last night.

Activity 3: Translate the following sentences into English, paying attention to the distinction

between full and local (that is word or phrasal) negation:

Nu era lipsită de graţie şi de frumuseţe. / Când a aflat vestea, nu s-a simţit deloc încântat. / Nu

cu multă vreme în urmă, toată lumea călătorea cu trăsura. / I-a trebuit nu puţină iscusinţă să rezolve


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problema. / Nu îl preferă pe John în mod special. / Îl preferă pe John, dar nu în mod special. / Nu era

neobişnuit de deştept. / Era neobişnuit de şmecher. / Era el destul de isteţ, dar nu neobişnuit. / Deloc

interesat de conferinţă, domnul Jones s-a ridicat şi a plecat din sală. / Domnul Jones nu era deloc

interesat de discuţiile din sală. / Nu tocmai convinşi de ceea ce auziseră, cei doi fraţi şi-au luat inima în

dinţi şi au protestat. / Nu erau nelămuriţi, ci doar indecişi. / Nu neg că această culoare mă prinde de

minune. / A negat cu tărie orice legătură cu crima comisă cu o seară înainte. / Nu mică i-a fost mirarea

să vadă cât de bine se înţelegeau cei doi.

Since this course is an attempt to clarify matters related to syntax we restrict the term negative

sentences only to those sentences that qualify as syntactically negated. This means that negative

sentences need to have a negative word present inside them that will influence the whole meaning of

the respective sentences.

1.3. Negative vs. affirmative sentences. Tests for negativity

In this subsection we are going to answer two questions:

a) What is the difference between negative and affirmative (positive) sentences?

b) How do we tell when a sentence is syntactically negative? Are there any ways of checking

on the sentence’s negativity?

Let us start with the first question: the difference existing between negative and

positive sentences is not only a semantic one (that is the fact that they express opposite truth

values) but also a syntactic and pragmatic one:

As we were saying, syntactically negative sentences are marked by the presence of a

negative structure (such as the word not, etc.) and sometimes by other syntactic changes. Compare (8)

to (9):

(8) I went there.

(M-am dus acolo.)

(9) I didn’t go there.

(Nu m-am dus acolo.)


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The second sentence has undergone certain syntactic changes, such as do insertion. (see

subsection 1.1.).

Let us now discuss the pragmatic differences between positive and negative sentences:

basically, whenever we utter a negative sentence in a discourse, we imply the existence of its

affirmative counterpart. For instance, in a negative sentence such as:

(10) Harry didn’t attack the government.

(Harry nu a atacat guvernul)

the implicit affirmative sentences existing in correlation to the negative sentences could be: -

Harry did something to the government (but he didn’t attack it)

- Someone attacked the government (but it wasn’t Harry).

Activity 4: Which are the implied affirmative sentences with the following negative sentences?

They did not tell Susan the truth about Jim. / Susan did not get married to Jim. / I don’t like her

very much. / We don’t come here often. / Susan was not bitten by a dog. / She does not hate animals./

They didn’t leave.

The second question that springs to one’s mind is: but how do we tell when a sentence is

negative, since sometimes examples can be so misleading?

An efficient way of doing that was offered by Klima (1964) who distinguishes between four

tests of negativity:

1. Tag-questions – a sentence is syntactically negative if it allows for the presence of an

affirmative tag question (with a falling intonation):

(11) Susan does not like her friends, does she ?

( Lui Susan nu îi place de prietenii ei, nu-i aşa?)

(12) Susan dislikes her friends, * does she ?

(13) Susan dislikes her friends, doesn’t she?


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Sentence (11) qualifies as negative, since it is followed by an affirmative question tag, whereas

the sentence under (12) does not: the star placed at the beginning of the tag question indicates that the

structure is ungrammatical, incorrect. The sentence allows only for a negative question tag (see

example (13)) and is syntactically affirmative.

2. Not even-tags – a sentence is syntactically negative if it allows for the presence of a not

even-tag :

(14) Susan does not like her friends, not even the smart ones .

(Lui Susan nu-i place de prietenii ei, nici măcar de cei deştepţi.)

(15) Susan dislikes / likes her friends, * not even the smart ones.

(16) Susan dislikes/ likes her friends, even the smart ones.

Example (14) is syntactically negative, as is demonstrated by the presence of the not even tag.

Compare this example to those under (15) and (16), which exhibit samples of affirmative sentences,

since the not even tag cannot be applied to them.

3. Either conjoining – a sentence is syntactically negative if it can be followed by another

negative sentence and the adverb either:

(17) Susan does not like her friends, and they don’t like her either .

(Lui Susan nu îi place de prietenii ei şi nici lor nu le place de ea.)

(18) Susan dislikes / likes her friends, * and they don’t like her either .

Sentence (17) is syntactically negative because the either conjoining is possible, which does not

happen in the case of (18), which is ungrammatical.

4. Neither tags – a sentence is syntactically negative if it can be followed by a neither tag:

(19) Susan doesn’t like her friends, and neither do they like her.

( Lui Susan nu îi place de prietenii ei şi nici lor nu le place de ea.)

(20) Susan likes / dislikes her friends, * and neither do they like her .


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Sentence (19) is syntactically negative since it can be combined with a neither tag,

whereas sentence (20) is syntactically affirmative since its combination with neither is obviously


In conclusion, whenever one wishes to check whether a certain sentence is negative

from a syntactic point of view, they need to refer to these tests of negativity. By applying these tests to

the sentence in question, one can tell if the sentence is negative or not.

Activity 5: Say whether the following are instances of local or sentence negation by using the

tests for negativity above:

I don’t know much about him. / I can hardly understand what they are saying. / You have never

met her. / I haven’t ever seen such a thing. / Should they not have told her the truth? / Not infrequently,

they go skiing in the mountains. / In no time he was able to solve the problem. / At no time was he able

to solve the problem. / Not always a witty interlocutor, Jim felt rather at a loss for words. / They

caused us no problems. / No problems were caused after all. / This boy is no good. / Few of them

stayed behind. / A few of them stayed behind.

1.4. Instances of Negation

We shall now attempt to offer a classification of the various instances of negation present in

English. The criterion we employ has to do with the position of the negative word inside the negative


a) negative insertion (the negative word not is inserted in the auxiliary):

(21) John has not come.

(N-a venit John).

(22) Susan could not go to the theatre.

(Susan nu s-a putut duce la teatru)

The negative word not has been inserted inside the sentences under (21) and (22). This kind of

negation is the most frequent one in English. A variation to this instance of negation is offered by those

sentences in which the negative word is attached to the auxiliary verb by means of contraction:

(23) John hasn’t come.


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(24) Susan couldn’t go to the theatre.

b) negative incorporation (the negative word is incorporated in a determiner, a pronoun or

an adverb):

(25) I saw no student.

(N-am v ăzut nici un student )

In example (25) negation is incorporated in the determiner (that is the article ) of the direct


(26) I saw nobody.

( N-am văzut pe nimeni ).

In this case negation is incorporated in the pronoun.

(27) a . I went nowhere.

( Nu m-am dus nicăieri )

b. I never went to his place.

(Nu m-am dus niciodată la el.)

In sentence (27) the negative word has been incorporated in the adverb of place.

All the sentences discussed here are variants for :

(28) a. I didn’t see any student.

(N-am văzut nici un student.)

b. I didn’t see anybody.

(N-am văzut pe nimeni.)

c. I didn’t go anywhere. / I didn’t ever go to his place.

(Nu m-am dus nicăieri. / Nu m-am dus niciodată la el.)

c) negative attraction (the negative word is attracted by the nominal phrase in the first

position of the sentence; no incorporation takes place.)


Page 14: LEC Curs, Anul 2, Sem 2

(29) a. Not all that glitters is gold.

( Nu tot ce străluceşte e aur.)

b. Not a day passed without me thinking of him.

( N-a trecut o zi fără să mă gândesc la el.)

It is obvious that in such examples the negative word not has been ‘attracted’ by the nominal

phrase in sentence initial position. The sentences under (29) may be paraphrased by means of negative

insertion or incorporation:

(30) a. All that glitters is not gold.

b. No day passed without me thinking of him.

The fact that these sentences may be paraphrased by means of other negative sentences makes

us believe that the process of attraction is optional not obligatory.

Activity 6: Distinguish between the sentences which exhibit negative insertion or contraction,

negative attraction and negative incorporation:

They didn’t send many students abroad. / I showed him nothing. / Not many women are famous

opera composers. / Not a word fell from her lips. / She said not a word when I spoke to her. / It didn’t

take him a minute to tell her the secret. / Not a minute did it take him to tell her the secret. / No one

ever listens to her. / None of them liked house music. / Not one of them came to meet her./ They didn’t

come to meet her. / I saw nobody. / I didn’t see anybody./ They never went there./ They didn’t ever tell

her what bothered them. / He should not be released.

There are other instances of negation that do not necessarily fall under the criterion we

mentioned above (that of the position of the negative word inside the sentence).

- incomplete negation (negation in the sentence is made by means of the so-called

incomplete negators such as hardly, scarcely, barely, seldom, rarely, etc.) – the sentences that contain

these negators are also considered syntactically negative, because they pass all the tests for negativity

presented in 1.4.:


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(31) I hardly met this man, did I?

(Nu l-am cunoscut pe omul acesta.)

(32) They barely read any novels, not even short ones.

(Nu citesc romane, nici măcar din alea scurte.)

(33) We seldom watch T.V, and we don’t go to the theatre either.

(Ne uităm rar la televizor, şi nu mergem nici la teatru.)

(34) They rarely talked to their friends, and neither did their friends talk to them.

(Vorbeau rar cu prietenii şi nici prietenii nu vorbeau cu ei.)

Activity 7: Paraphrase the following instances of incomplete negation by means of negative

insertion, negative attraction or negative incorporation:

I can barely look into his eyes. / I could hardly wait to hear the news. / This is hardly the time to

buy yourself a new fur coat. / I scarcely ever see her. / Hardly anybody liked him. / You’ve eaten

hardly anything. / I seldom look at her like that. / Few people came to see her. / You can hardly blame

me for your mistakes. / I hardly ever look at those paintings.

- emphatic negation (emphasis is laid by placing the negative word or the incomplete

negator in the first position inside the sentence, which triggers inversion):

(35) a. Never have I met a more horrible person.

( Niciodată n-am cunoscut un om mai îngrozitor.)

b. Rarely have I done such a stupid thing.

(Rareori am făcut un lucru aşa de prostesc.)

c. Hardly have they heard a thing like that.

(N-am mai auzit aşa ceva.)

d. Not for the world would I do such a thing.

(Pentru nimic în lume n-aş face una ca asta.)

Activity 8: Rephrase the following sentences making them emphatic:

I shall never, never trust a man again. / One can have peace in life only by avoiding them

altogether. / A truer word has seldom been spoken! / This nation scarcely ever in the past faced so great


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a danger. / There is rarely an opportunity for us to serve the community in this way. / Nothing like that

ever happened in our street before./ We seldom receive such generous praise. / Ann gave him the use

of her flat and lent him a car as well. / She had no idea he was a man on the run from the police./ We

never thought he was that sort of fellow. / We little suspected when we started our holiday that it would

be like this. / You rarely see such an outstanding bargain. / You shouldn’t wander away from the path

under any circumstances. / I didn’t leave the office at any time. / You must on no account touch this

machinery. / She could rely on nobody but him. / We not only ran into the fog but it began to rain. /

The keys couldn’t be found anywhere.

- negative transportation (the negative word is transported to the main clause from a

subordinate that clause where it originates and belongs semantically):

For instance, sentence (36) becomes (37):

(36) They think that he doesn’t like them .

(Ei cred că lui nu-i place de ei.)

(37) They don’t think that he likes them.

(Ei nu cred că lui îi place de ei.)

by undergoing a process of negative transportation. As you can see from the translation of these

examples, the phenomenon is the same in Romanian. The difference between (36) and (37) is a

pragmatic one, in the sense that the original sentence (36) is stronger from the point of view of its

negative force. In sentence (37), the negative meaning is less strong.

Negative transportation is optional and may appear with verbs of opinion,

intention, probability, etc.: think, believe, imagine, suppose, guess, expect, seem, appear, look like,

sound/feel like, intend, choose, want, be probable, be likely, be supposed to, ought to, should be

desirable, advise, suggest, etc.

Activity 9: Reformulate the sentences below in such a way that they become instances of

negative transportation:

John claims that Susan doesn’t trust him. / I suppose she doesn’t care, does she? / It’s likely that

he won’t help her. / I expect he won’t come here again. / I thought I didn’t have to do it myself. / They


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believe she does not like them. / They suggested that she should not meet Jim. / He reckoned he would

not win her over.

1.5. Polarity Items

Sometimes a negative sentence is characterized not only by the existence of a negative word

(such as not or hardly, barely, etc.) but also by the existence of certain elements that, although not

negative in meaning, cannot appear in an affirmative context. For example, we can very well say

something like:

(38) a. She didn’t lift a finger to help me.

(N-a mişcat un deget să mă ajute.)

b. She doesn’t like our chairman at all.

(Nu-i place deloc de presedinte.)

In the above examples, I underlined the phrases (not) to lift a finger and at all that are specific

for the negative context. They are not usable in an affirmative environment, and sentences such as:

(39) a.*She lifted a finger to help me.

b. *She likes our chairman at all.

are clearly not grammatical. This means that the negative word not is so powerful that it

literally imposes the presence of certain elements (such as lift a finger or at all) in its vicinity.

These elements that can appear only in non-assertive contexts (see section1.2. for the definition

of assertive/ non-assertive) are called negative polarity items. They are lexical items (that is words and

phrases) and are sensitive to the polarity of the sentence (namely to the assertive or non-assertive nature

of the respective sentence).

The phenomenon is not restricted to English only as one can come up with examples of such

items from Romanian:

(40) Nu e chip să vorbeşti cu el.

(41) N -am văzut nici picior de hoţ prin preajmă.


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The fact that the italicized phrases above are indeed negative polarity items is demonstrated by

their inadequacy in an assertive context. It is incorrect to say:

(42) * E chip să vorbeşti cu el.

(43) * Am văzut picior de hoţ prin preajmă.

Negative polarity items are sometimes paralleled by Affirmative Polarity Items, that is by items

that can appear only in assertive contexts. That is exactly why, we can speak of pairs of Negative and

Affirmative Polarity items:

Any vs. some (I haven’t any money. / I have some money.)

At all vs. somehow/ somewhat (I don’t like him at all. / I somehow like him.)

Yet vs. already (I haven’t seen him yet. / I have already seen him.)

Any more vs. still (I don’t love you any more. / I still love you)

Either vs. too (I don’t like it, either. / I like it , too.)

Hardly ever vs. most of the times ( I hardly ever eat caviar. / I eat caviar most of the times.)

Until vs. before (He didn’t arrive until 5. / He arrived before 5.)

Much vs. a lot (I don’t like you much. / I like you a lot.), etc.

Activity 10: Give the negative / positive counterpart of the following sentences; identify the

polarity items:

We have already had some snow this winter. / They say he once had someone very close. /

Come on, you can still do something about it. / We will see them again somewhere sometime. / We

were somehow surprised by that sudden appearance. / Well, I hope he’s somewhat wiser now. / I

somewhat like his proposal. / I think I can help him (to) some (extent). / Don’t worry, it will stop

hurting before tomorrow. / Susan got a passing grade in English and her friend did, too. / Alice doesn’t

live here any longer/ more. / I don’t feel any better for having had a holiday. / Well, I’m afraid her

husband was never any good. / You needn’t send her anything. / She hardly ever comes here. /This

experiment has revealed something of importance already. / Bob is still living at that address. / I can

understand both of these sentences./ I can understand all of these ten English words. / Hundreds of

students can find somewhere comfortable to live® / Some of the questions on this test he knew how to

answer. / Peter knows some English and so does John./ Both John and Peter have pretty wives. / Daddy


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drinks a lot of coffee and now he misses it quite badly. / I nearly always have to clean it myself. /

Almost everyone of them did well on that exam. / You must pay that fine. / You must be telling lies.

Activity 11: Translate into English, paying attention to the following Negative Polarity Items:

Budge, flinch, bat an eye(lid), give a damn/darn, find a trace, hear a peep, hurt a fly, last a

minute, crack a smile, turn a hair, sleep a wink, touch a drop, leave a stone unturned, lift/raise/ stir a

finger, lay a finger on someone, touch her/him with a ten-foot pole, move a muscle, see/ feel/

remember a thing, tell/ ask/speak to a soul, say / breathe/ understand a word, know a single person,

have a care/ friend in the world, have/be worth a red cent.

Ion nu e prea deştept, de fapt nimeni din familia lor nu e prea deştept. / N-a putut face el aşa

ceva! Nu e el chiar aşa de deştept! / Nu ştiu ce s-a întâmplat cu ea; n-am văzut-o de ani de zile. / Ajută-

mă, te rog! Nu pot să clintesc din loc pietroiul ăsta. / Se spune că acest doctor în ştiinţe n-a studiat

niciodată nimic nicăieri. / Nouă nu ne-a spus nimeni nimic, nici unuia dintre noi. / Sunt convinsă că

Mark nu s-a deranjat să telefoneze. / Jim e atât de curajos! Nici n-a clipit măcar o dată. N-a zis nici pâs

când doctorul i-a pansat rana. / Arăţi atât de obosită azi! -Nu e de mirare, n-am închis un ochi toată

noaptea (n-am lipit geană de geană). / A: Bei un pahar de vin? B: Nu, mulţumesc, de când cu ulcerul

ăsta, nu mai pun picătură în gură înainte de masă. / A: Te-a afectat desigur foarte mult plecarea lui. B:

Aşi, nu-mi pasă câtuşi de puţin dacă se întoarce sau nu. / Poliţia a scotocit peste tot, n-a lăsat cotlon

necercetat, încercând să prindă criminalul. / Hotărât lucru, i se întâmplase ceva îngrozitor, dar ea nu-şi

mai amintea absolut nimic şi nu scotea o vorbă. / Nu ştiu de ce plânge, nu e vina mea, n-am atins-o

nici cu un deget! / Era singurul care ar fi putut s-o facă, dar n-a mişcat un deget să-i salveze! / Era un

om tare, a primit vestea morţii fiului său fără să clipească! / E un om fericit. N-are nici o grijă pe lume,

dar nici para chioară în buzunar. / Nu te lua după el! Părerea lui nu face nici două parale! / Scena era

atât de caraghioasă, încât nu-şi putea ţine râsul. / Să fiu al naibii dacă mai vorbesc cu el vreodată! / A:

A sunat clopoţelul? B: Nu, n-a sunat încă.

Activit y 12: Translate into Romanian, paying attention to Polarity Items:

No fool like an old fool. / Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you. / Never is a long word.

/ No man is wise all the time. / No sooner said than done. / Nothing succeeds like success. / He won’t

make old bones. / Not to put too fine an edge point on it, he’s a pig. / I had no end of trouble. / He is no

end of a fellow. / No hands wanted. / No admittance. / No entry. / These guys never know whether


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they’re coming or going. / I couldn’t make head or tail of it. / Nothing doing! / “Sorry!” “No harm

done!” / Nothing daunted, he left the room. / No trouble at all. / Not that I care, but you really should

do something about it.

As you have noticed from the exercises above, there are cases when Polarity Items work in

pairs (such as still and any more) and cases when there are only Negative Polarity Items (lift a finger,

budge, etc) or Affirmative ones (would rather). Normally, Negative Polarity Items are more numerous

than Affirmative ones, and this is helped by the fact that they can appear in any context that is non-

assertive: they can appear in negative sentences, but also in interrogative ones (Have you seen

anyone ?) or in If-clauses (If you have anything to say, say it. )

Activity 13: Identify the contexts that allow for Negative Polarity Items:

a) He admitted saying something to some of the people present. / He denied ever saying

anything to anyone. b) I love asking some funny remarks. / I hate making any commitments. c) He is

anxious to say something. / He is reluctant to ever say anything. d) He is wrong / unwilling / unable to

say anything about it. e) She is the cutest girl anyone has ever seen.

1.6. Negative concord / Non-negative concord

This subsection attempts to draw a distinction between negative concord languages (such as

Romanian) and non-negative concord ones (such as English). Compare the following sentences:

(44) I did not see anyone./ I saw no one.

(45) N -am văzut pe nimeni.

In the case of the sentence under (44) there are two negative words in concord, which is not the

case of the sentence under (45). Romanian is therefore a negative –concord language and we can safely

say that Substandard English – that uses double negation – exhibits negative concord, as well:

(46) I can’t feel no satisfaction.


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The examples of double negation that are so frequent in Substandard English need not be,

however, mistaken for the so-called ample negatives, that are instances of Standard English:

(47) A: You can’t really like this poem.

B: Not this poem, I don’t.

(A: Doar nu-ţi place poezia asta.

B: Nu, nu-mi place, nu poezia asta.)

The example above is a sample of Standard English, in that it does not in fact contain two

negative words in the same sentence. The second negation is somehow independent, it is just a copy of

the first one for the sake of emphasis. The sentence under (47) is a rephrased emphatic variant of:

(48) No, I don’t like this poem.

(Nu, nu îmi place poezia asta.)

1.7. Conclusion. Key terms.

One of the most important issues discussed in this chapter is that of the negative status of a

sentence. We have drawn a distinction between affirmative and negative sentences, from a syntactic

point of view.

Syntactic negation refers to those sentences that have a negative word/ phrase inside them that

modifies the whole content of the sentences.

Semantic negation is related to the meaning of a sentence or phrase only, without taking into

consideration form and structure.

The second issue discussed here is connected to the changes performed on affirmative sentences

when one needs to transform them into negative ones. From this point of view, it is crucial for one to

understand the problem of Polarity Items.

Negative Polarity Items are those elements that can appear only in non-assertive contexts.

Affirmative Polarity Items are those elements (fewer in number) that appear only in assertive


The third issue tackled here refers to the difference between negative concord and non-negative

concord languages:


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English – non-negative concord (does not allow for ‘double negation’)

Romanian – negative concord (negation is made up of two parts)

Substandard English – negative concord

Optional activities:

Translate the following into English and comment upon any difficulties of translation you can

think of in relation to negativity:

Există un mare pericol: să nu degenerezi şi să ajungi să vezi viaţa altfel de cum este. / Îi

era teamă să nu plece el mai devreme şi să uite valiza acasă. / Stau şi păzesc clădirea şi am grijă să nu

izbucnească vreun foc la parter. / Trebuie să te fereşti să nu se întâmple ceva rău. / N-a venit acasă mai

devreme pentru că nu ştia dacă el n-o să vrea să mănânce în oraş.

Abia când m-am pomenit bătând în poarta Măgurenilor, încet, slab, fără prea multă

hotărâre, au început să mi se hipertrofieze brutal în minte dimensiunile aventurii în care mă vârâsem.

Nu-mi făcusem mari iluzii, nu mă aşteptam să obţin ceva de la Carol, după cum nu crezusem că voi fi

bruscat, expediat afară. (A. Buzura, Feţele tăcerii)

Oricum distanţa care o ţineau faţă de mine nu-mi convenea, mi se părea ameninţătoare.

N-aveam mai nimic comun, nu ne lega o singură amintire, întâmplare, ceva, nu mi se ivise prilejul să

dovedesc, intr-un fel sau altul, că sunt om bun, cu nevoi ca ei. (A. Buzura, Feţele tăcerii)

Cu nici unul dintre aceştia N.S. nu se găsea în relaţii deosebit de norocoase, ceea ce

însemna că ei nici nu-şi vorbeau şi nici bineţe nu-şi dădeau. (L. Blaga, Peisaj şi amintire)

Nici o clipă nu-mi trecuse prin minte că venind aici, la mânăstire, aş avea nevoie în

bagajele mele de un frac. De fapt, nici nu doream să iau parte la petrecere. (Şt. Agopian, Tache de


Pe locul hotărât se adunase, încă până a nu se face ziuă, atâta lume, cât frunză şi iarbă,

de nu se mai putea mişca; şi bătrânul cu copiii abia găsiră şi ei un colţişor la o parte de unde să se poată

uita şi ei. N-apucară să se aşeze bine şi auziră un sunet de fluier. (P.Ispirescu, Basme)


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2.1. Direct vs. Indirect Questions

2.2. Quirk’s Classification of Direct Questions

2.2.1 Yes/No Questions

2.2.2 Wh- Questions

2.2.3. Alternative Questions

2.3. Minor Types of Questions

2.3.1 Tag Questions

2.3.2 Echo Questions

2.4. Key Terms. Optional Exercises

2.1. Direct / Indirect Questions

Like Romanian, English makes use of two main types of questions:

- direct questions (Did Susan give Tom the parcel?)

- indirect questions (He asked if Susan had given Tom the parcel)

We shall leave the problem of indirect questions aside, for a subsequent section. This section

will only deal with the opposition between direct and indirect questions, focusing on direct questions


If we try to analyze the examples above, it appears that direct questions are characterized by:

a) the placing of an auxiliary in front of the subject:

(1) Will Jane meet the president today?

( O să facă Jane cunoştinţă cu preşedintele azi?)

b) the initial positioning of an interrogative or wh – element

(2) Who will Jane meet?

( Cu cine o să se întâlnească Jane?)

(3) What is she talking about?

(Ce spune acolo?)

c) rising ‘question’ intonation


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It can be said that the interrogative force of direct questions is provided by two of the

characteristics we mentioned: the fact that the subject changes places with the auxiliary, by means of

Subject Auxiliary Inversion, and the specific rising intonation a speaker attaches to the sentence he


Unlike direct questions, indirect ones do not make use of Subject Auxiliary Inversion,

and their intonation is not rising (and this is obvious even graphically, since we do not use a question

mark with indirect questions). In the case of indirect questions, the interrogative force we were

speaking about has been taken over by the main verb that introduces the indirect question. Compare:

(4) Where are you going?

(Unde te duci?)


(5) He asked her where she was going.

(A întrebat-o unde se duce)

The fact that the meaning of indirect questions is tightly linked to the main verb that introduces

them is reinforced in English by the necessity that the tense within the indirect question should

correspond to the tense in the main clause ( that is, the rules of the sequence of the tenses need to be

observed: in example (5), the Past Tense in the main clause matches the Past Continuous in the

subordinate). It would be therefore incorrect to say something like:

(6) He asked her *where she is going.

because, in this case, the sequence of the tenses is violated.

Likewise, it would be wrong to say (in standard English):

(7) He asked her *where was she going.

Since the question is not direct any more, Subject Auxiliary Inversion is not required, and

the sentence would be deemed grammatically wrong.

Activity 1 Analyse the following sentences in terms of the opposition direct/indirect questions;

identify the incorrect sentences.

What is going on? / What have you two been up to? / What you two have been up to? / I wonder

what have you two been up to? / I wonder what is going on. / I wonder: what is going on? / I wonder:

what have you two been up to? / I wonder what you two have been up to. / I don’t know whom she


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fancies. / Who does she fancy? / I don’t know who does she fancy. / Who is she? / I don’t know who is

she. / I don’t know who she is. / He asked me who she is. / He asked me who she was. / He asked me:

who is she?

2.2. Quirk’s Classification of Direct Questions

A first possible classification of questions is related to whether these questions are long or short.

Short questions tend to lose some of their content, being typical of spoken language. Compare for


(8) What do you want?

(Ce vrei?)


(9) What?



(10) Where are you going?

(Unde te duci?)


(11) Where to?


Activity 2 Transform the following ‘long’ sentences into ‘short’ ones:

Is there any trouble? / Do you like my new T.V set? / Do you want me to come along? / What

is it that you want? / Why don’t you join us? / Would you like to have dinner with me? / Have you

heard from her lately? / Are there any bad news? / Is there any mail for me today? / What should I do

that for?

Another criterion of classification is, as Quirk shows, the type of answer the respective question

requires. In this case, one can speak of three classes of questions: those questions that need a yes/no

answer, those that need an elaborate answer and those that need an alternative answer. Let us provide

examples and a short presentation of each of the aforementioned types of direct questions.


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2.2.1. Yes / No Questions

As their name suggests, yes/ no questions are those particular questions that receive a

yes/ no answer.

Here are a couple of examples:

(12) Have you read Great Expectations ?

(Ai citit Marile Speranţe ?)

(13) Did you go to the party?

(Te-ai dus la petrecere?)

Activity 3 Form questions and say which of them are Yes/No questions:

1. (you / pick up the children from school) ?

2. ( you / lend me some money) ?

3. (which / you like best) ?

4. (who / talk to last night)?

5. (you / hear from her these days) ?

6. (what time / shops close today) ?

7. (you / keep a secret) ?

8. (when / the accident happen) ?

9. (how long / wait for me?)

10. (what / you do lately) ?

Since questions qualify as non-assertive contexts, one would expect them to make use of

Negative Polarity Items:

(14) Did anyone call last night?

(M-a căutat cineva aseară?)

(15) Has the boat left yet?

(A plecat deja vasul?)

Those yes / no questions that prefer to use Affirmative Polarity Items, instead of Negative

Polarity ones, are said to be positively – oriented, that is the answers to these questions are supposed to

be positive:


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(16) Did someone call last night?

(M-a căutat cineva aseară?)

Yes, they did.


(17) Has the boat left already ?

(A plecat deja vasul?)

Yes, it has.


A sub-type of yes/ no questions is represented by the so-called declarative questions, which are

so named because they are not characterized by Subject Auxiliary Inversion. The declarative question

is a type of question which is identical in form to a statement, except for the final rising question


(18) You realize what the RISKS are?

( Îţi dai seama de riscuri?)

(19) He didn’t finish the RACE?

(N-a terminat cursa?)

Another sub-type of yes / no questions is supplied by negative questions:

(20) Didn’t you know she was my Mum?

(Nu ştiai că e mama mea?)

(21) Can’t you be more patient?

(Nu poţi să ai şi tu mai multă răbdare?)

(22) Won’t you tell me who you went out with?

(Nu-mi spui şi mie cu cine te-ai întâlnit?)

Activity 4 In the following dialogues, make negative questions using the words given and decide

if the expected response would be Yes or No, as in the example:

1. A: You’re still in your pyjamas. Aren’t you supposed to be getting ready? (supposed to /

get ready)

B: No. I’ve still got plenty of time.

2. A: Your mother is shouting for you. ……………? (hear her)


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B: …. , but I want to play basketball a little longer.

3. A: You’ve been learning German for years. …….. …………………. (speak yet)

B: ……., but I’m too shy to try in front of strangers.

4. A: What a lovely hairdo! …………………. (tell me who does it for you)

B: ….., because you always copy everything I do!

5. A: Why aren’t you coming to the party? …………… (feel like getting out)

B: ………, but I’ve got to babysit tonight.

6. A: You look down. …………………………………? (enjoy the film)

B: ……………… . It was the kind of film that really depresses me.

7. A: She had her tenants evicted. ……………………………..? (a mean thing to do)

B: ………………….. . She’s got a reputation for being heartless.

8. A: That was a rather tactless thing to say. ……………………(realise she was Ann’s


B: …………………….. . You could have mentioned it earlier.

9. A: There was a terrible car crash. ……………………………….? (see it on the news)

B: …………………… . I didn’t get home until late last night.

10. A: It’s past your bedtime. …………………………? (be in bed by now)

B: …………………….. . I’m allowed to stay up late at the weekend.

2.2.2 Wh – questions

Wh- questions are formed with the aid of one of the following simple interrogative words:

Who/ whom/ whose, what , which

When, where, how, why

The wh-phrase appears in sentence-initial position and Subject Auxiliary Inversion takes place:

(23) a. On what did you base your prediction? (formal)

b. What did you base your prediction on? (informal)

(Pe ce îţi bazezi pronosticul?)

Activity 5 Ask questions where the word/phrase in bold is the answer:

Pete works for British Telecom./ Sara owns two cars. / She’s tall and fair. / It’s nearly seven

o’clock./ I have French lessons twice a week. / I went to Hawaii on holiday. / There are six students


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in my class. / I wasn’t at work today because I was ill. / David’s car was stolen. / Shakespeare wrote

“King Lear”./ We’ve lived here for ten years. / My new car cost 10,000dollars. / Kay’s gone out

shopping. / Shirley got married to Ben. / That’s my pen. / She lives in the suburbs./ She dropped her


Activity 6 Write questions in which the bold type words are the answers:

So I was glad for the company of Rosalie. As more old buildings are demolished I must

constantly shift about the city, trying to find places where I resided in life, places where a shred of my

soul remains to anchor me. There are still overgrown bayou islands and remote Mississippi coves I

visit often, but to give up the drunken carnival of New Orleans, to forsake human companionship

(witting or otherwise) would be to fully accept my death. Nearly two hundred years, I cannot do that.

Note that there is a group of informal intensificatory wh – words (who ever, what ever, why

ever, etc) that convey to the question an emphatic meaning:

(24) What ever did you do that for?

(De ce oi fi făcut tu asta?)

(25) Why ever didn’t he tell me?

(De ce oare nu mi-o fi spus?)

There are, of course, other forms of intensification available:

(26) Who on earth did this?

(Cine o fi făcut una ca asta?)

(27) Who the hell does he think he is? (impolite)

(Cine naiba se crede?)

(28 ) Why in heaven’s name did you say that? (impolite)

(Pentru numele lui Dumnezeu, de ce ai spus aşa ceva?)

Activity 7 What is the syntactic function of the wh – phrase in the following examples?

Whoever opened my letter? / Which toys did they buy? / Whose card is this? / How large did he

build his boat? / When do you meet Susan? / How long did that last? / Where shall I put these? / Why

are you doing this?/ How did you solve the problem? / What job does he have?


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There are certain cases where there are two wh – phrases present in the question:

(29)Susan has hidden something somewhere.

What has she hidden where?

(Ce a ascuns şi unde l-a pus?)

Where has she hidden what?

(Unde şi ce a ascuns?)

2.2.3. Alternative questions

Alternative questions are those questions that receive an alternative answer:

(30) A: Would you like to smoke a cigarette or a pipe?

B: A cigarette.

(A: Fumezi o ţigară sau o pipă?

B: O ţigară.)

Any positive yes/no question can be converted into an alternative one by adding the phrase or

not, or a matching negative clause:

(31) Yes / no question: Are you coming?


(32) Alternative question: Are you coming or not?

(Vii sau nu?)

Are you coming or aren’t you?

(Vii sau nu vii?)

Activity 8 Find the word which should not be in the sentence:

1. Could you mind come a bit earlier tomorrow?

2. How far is it the cinema?

3. He used to work in a bank, didn’t use he?

4. Didn’t they not go to the concert last night?

5. Would you like have a piece of cake?

6. Let’s stay for another few days, shall we stay?

7. How long is she be spending in America?

8. What Anne does she plan to do in the summer?

9. There was a vax for you this morning, wasn’t it there?


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10. Who did left the gate open?

11. Wou can’t be serious, can you be?

12. Would you mind to photocopying this letter for me?

13. Don’t forget to take some spare socks, will you not?

14. That was Jeremy’s brother, wasn’t it he?

15. John goes jogging every morning, doesn’t he go?

16. Would you mind to picking some things up at the supermarket?

17. That’s your car, isn’t it this?

18. How long have you be lived in London?

19. Don’t forget to ring the dentist, will you not?

20. How long time does it take to get there?

21. Would you to like a cup of coffee?

22. Didn’t you not see him yesterday?

23. Who did told you about the problem?

24. Whose it is this book?

25. What did he say it about the assignment?

Activity 9 Translate the following, paying attention to the different types of questions:

A. Ani întregi, uneori disperat, n-am făcut altceva decât m-am străduit să îngrop urmele de

durere în mine, am încercat să-mi repar deformaţiile, să-mi înfrâng frica, neliniştea infantilă. Toate

vechi, deci, acum însă parcă m-am pierdut; particip la povestea asta cu sentimentele şi nu cu raţiunea.

Pot reveni, deci, oricând la vechile trăiri? Sau vreau doar să strâng documente despre un univers

tulbure, plin de germeni virulenţi, despre o lume dură, necruţătoare? Cui i-ar folosi ele? Cei ce vin au în

spate zeci de secole de istorie, la fel ca şi cei ce se duc, ca şi cei ce au fost, dar cum nici lor nu le-a

folosit experienţa altora la nimic, nu văd cui i-ar folosi documentele mele? Şi cine-i judecătorul, dacă

prin absurd există? Întotdeauna vor exista stadii evolutie, iar proştii, inactivii, laşii, mediocrităţile vor fi

majoritari si vor avea grijă să condamne la anulare orice idee nouă, străină priceperii lor, vor amâna-o

în cel mai fericit caz. Atunci? Să-mi argumentez ideea că oamenii se află in preziua unui nou salt

evolutiv? Dar şi fără nişte biografii în plus am această certitudine. Trebuie să se întîmple ceva (…)

Poate mă aflu în stadiul definitivării unui drum propriu şi, naiv, visez că odată cu mine se va schimba şi

lumea. Drum—dar ce drum? Am multe şanse pentru a mă schimba, a începe într-un fel viaţa de la

capăt, indiferent de risc. Riscul? Ratarea, pe care oricum am simţit-o, îi ştiu gustul.


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B. Nu-mi amintesc din întreaga poveste decât un singur lucru: stăteam în cancelarie în faţa

mesei directorului şi pe faţă mi se proiecta lumina unei uriaşe lămpi de bioru: “Unde ai fost? Ce-ai

făcut până la 12 noaptea?Cu cine ai avut întâlnire? Recunoaşte, că altfel îţi spunem noi!” Nu-l vedeam

din cauza luminii care mă orbea, ghiceam doar unde se află. “Spune! striga el. Uită-te la mine dacă ai

curaj. Cu cine ai avut întâlnire?” Lumina mă ameţea, simţeam că nu mă voi putea mişca din cauza

tranpiraţiei. “Ai fost în parc noaptea. Cu cine ai avut întâlnire, ce legături ai? În ce scop?”

C. Mă obsedează mereu şansa pe care generos mi-am acordat-o atunci, dar şi drumul, lung,

negru, pe sub bolţile din care, neîntrerupt, picură apa roşietică, murdar, şobolanii trecând indolenţi prin

faţa mea şi curenţii de aer cald, umed, puturos. Şi, de atunci, în afară de faptul că mi-am acordat mereu

câte o şansă, mă întreb, contaminat desigur şi de cinismul inteligentului meu unchi: “La câţi ‘zei’ te

poţi opune într-o viaţă, domnule profesor, când armele tale sunt rudimentare şi trupele decimate? Şi

Carol, nu se poate, exclus, absolut exclus să nu fi simţit în secunda aceea uriaşă atârnată deasupra lui,

golul alb, orbitor, care i-a determinat alegerea, viaţa? Oare e drept, e cinstit să-i obosesc degeaba, când

nu-i pot face nici un bine, când n-am cum să-l ajut? Şi, la urma urmei, chiar când prin absurd aş putea,

ar avea rost să le fac dreptate? La ce le-ar folosi, când această căutare încăpăţânată a dreptăţii îi mai

ţine în viaţă?

(Augustin Buzura – Feţele tăcerii)

2.3. Minor Types of Questions

There are two minor types of questions we would like to mention in the following

subsections: tag questions and echo questions.

2.3.1. Tag Questions

Tag questions, or disjunctive questions are mostly typical of spoken English. They can be

attached to:

an imperative

(33) Open the door, will you?

Deschide uşa, da?

(34) Let’s go there, shall we?

(Hai să mergem acolo, da?)


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but the most frequent kind of tag questions are the ones attached to:

declarative sentences

(35) She went to Prague, didn’t she?

(S-a dus la Praga, nu-i aşa?)

We shall deal with the latter type in more detail. Depending on whether they match the polarity

of the main sentence or not, tag questions can be:

constant polarity tags

Constant polarity tags have the same polarity as the host sentence (i.e. if the host – or main –

sentence is affirmative, the tag is affirmative too; if the host sentence is negative, the tag is negative

too). The suggestion is that in this case, the speaker using the tag disagrees with what the main

sentence states. In this way, constant polarity tags can be a means of expressing irony, sarcasm; this is

why constant polarity tags have also been called “reactive tags”, or “comment tags”, since they reveal

the speaker’s reaction to the situation he comments upon:

(36) John: And Sue hasn’t graduated yet.

( Şi Sue nu şi-a dat încă licenţa)

Harry: She hasn’t graduated yet, hasn’t she?

(Aha, deci nu şi-a dat licenţa, hm?)

(37) A: Where’s the rest of the money?

(Unde e restul de bani?)

B: I’m afraid it’s all spent.

(Din păcate, au fost cheltuiţi.)

A: Oh, it’s all spent, is it?

(Deci, au fost cheltuiţi, hm?)

reversed polarity tags

Reversed polarity tags are those tags that are negative when the host sentence is affirmative and

vice versa.

Depending on whether the intonation of the respective tag is rising, or falling, reversed polarity

tags can be split in their turn into two categories:

with a rising intonation, the speaker is not sure about what he says and he expects an


(38) They’re moving, aren’t they?

(Se mută, nu?)


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with a falling intonation, the speaker is sure about what he says and doesn’t really

expect an answer:

(39) He caused the accident, didn’t he?

(El e cel care a cauzat accidentul, nu?)

Activity 10 Fill in the appropriate question tag:

You have got enough money. / Surely you have enough money. / He will be on time. / There is

enough food for everyone. / She used to talk a lot. / Everyone felt happy about it. / I am dressed smartly

enough. / That’s your car over there. / You will pick me up, after all. / You will pick me up at 7. / Let’s

eat dinner now. / Don’t leave without me. / Be a nice girl and bring me that stick. / You have been

invited. / There are a lot of cars on that street. / She left an hour ago . / He hates his wife. / He simply

hates empty words. / That was your father. / Tell me,…/ Let me know, …/ Ann can’t speak French. /

She has a brother. / I am older than you. / I must go now. / I may not see you tomorrow. / I may see you

tomorrow. / You ought not to smoke. / The boy never watched his sister. / The boy often watched his

sister. / He hasn’t any money in his pockets. / He had his tooth filled two weeks ago. / He has to marry

Susan. / There are sure to be two books in that drawer. / There happened to be a spare seat in the back

of the room. / Few people like her. / A few people like her. / Each of us is staying. / I don’t think you

like my music. / I think you don’t like my music. / I think you like my music. / They said he liked


Activity 11 Discuss the differences in meaning or emphasis (if any) between the sentences:

1. He used to play squash, didn’t he?/ He used to play squash, did he? / Didn’t he use to

play squash? / Did he use to play squash?

2. Isn’t this a great party? / This is a great party! / This is a great party, isn’t it? / Is this a

great party, or what?

3. Didn’t she do well in her exam! / She did very well in her exam. / How did she do in her

exam?/ Didn ‘t she do well in her exam? / Did she do well in her exam?

4. Isn’t it strange that everyone thinks they are experts on education? / It’s strange that

everyone thinks that they are experts on education.

5. So you enjoyed my talk, did you? / So you didn’t enjoy my talk? / So didn’t you enjoy

my talk? / So did you enjoy my talkl?

Activity 11 Add question tags to these sentences; then rewrite 1 to 4 as negative questions:


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We’d better stop work soon…./ I’m right about this…. / You’d rather stay in bed than get up

early… / Anyone can apply for the scholarship… / If we don’t get a move on, there won’t be much

time left… / Let’s have a rest… / Nobody anticipated what would happen… / Do try to relax…. / He

never used to study so hard….. / They ought to work much harder…

Activity 12 a)Rewrite each sentence so that its meaning remains unchanged, using a question

tag at the end. The passive is required in each one.

b) Then rewrite each of your newly formed passive sentences as negative questions:

Experts are finding new ways of using the computers all the time. / New uses …

One day robots and computers will do all our work for us. / All our work…

I don’t think that computers could be installed in every classroom. / Computers…

No one has yet invented a robot teacher. / No robot teacher…

The government should pay teachers on results. / Teachers…

Students’ parents often support them. / Students…

Student loans might replace grants. / Grants…

2.3.2. Echo Questions

Quirk discusses two categories of echo questions: Recapitulatory echo questions - questions which repeat part or all of the

message, as a way of having its content confirmed

In their turn, recapitulatory echo questions can be further split into:

a) general echo questions – characterized by the fact that they have the same order as

declarative questions (see 2.2.1.) but a rising intonation (instead of a falling one, as is the case with

declarative questions):

(40) A: I didn’t like that meat.

(Nu mi-a plăcut friptura aia.)

B: You didn’t like it?

( Nu ţi-a plăcut?)

(41) A: My husband speaks Chinese.

(Soţul meu ştie chineză.)


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B: Chinese?


b) special echo questions – the wh- word can be placed in sentence initial position or not. If the

wh- phrase is fronted, Subject Auxiliary Inversion takes place, accompanied by rising intonation:

(42) A:I saw Bill yesterday.

(Ieri l-am văzut pe Bill.)

B: You saw WHOM yesterday?

(Pe cine ai văzut ieri?!)

(43) A: Switch that light off.

(Închide lumina aia.)

B: Switch WHAT off?

(Ce să închid?!)

(44) A:We went to Amsterdam.

(Ne-am dus la Amsterdam.)

B: WHERE did you go?

(Unde ai fost?!)

(45) A: He is an astronaut.

(E astronaut)

B: WHAT is he?

(Ce e?!)

Such sentences often express surprise, consternation, disbelief, misunderstanding:

(46) A:My husband eats bugs.

(Soţul meu mănâncă insecte.)

B: He eats WHAT?

(Ce mănâncă_?!) Explicatory Echo Questions – ask for the clarification, rather than the repetition,

of something just said. The difference between recapitulatory and explicatory echo questions lies in the

type of intonation they possess: as we have seen, with recapitulatory echo questions, intonation is

rising, whereas with explicatory echo questions, intonation is falling:

(47) A: Take a look at this.

(Uită-te la asta.)


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B: Take a look at WHAT?

(La ce să mă uit?)

(48) A: Oh, dear, I’ve lost the letter.

(Vai, am pierdut scrisoarea.)

B: WHICH letter have you lost? (i.e. which letter do you mean, rather than did

you say, you have lost?)

(Ce scrisoare ai pierdut?)

Activity 13 Formulate echo questions in relation to the underlined word and comment on their


My sister dyed herself green. / I think I’ve found a solution. / I think I’ve found a hair in my

soup./ We are looking for a purse. / We are looking for a pixie. / He is interested in music./ He is

interested in blue movies.


Activity 14 Translate the following:

1. Nu ştiam unde mă duce, dar îmi dădeam seama că avea o ţintă: după ce tăcuse atâta timp

asupra a ceea ce aş fi vrut să aflu, acuma sporovăiala. Între ce ani fusese studentă?… Terminase oare

facultatea? Cum ajunsese caseriţă, aşa, în general, şi la Oraca îndeosebi? Cine erau părinţii ei? Fusese

măritată? (nu, nu purta verighetă, dar…) Care fusese anturajul ei în acei ani când eu şi Ion Micu

frecventasem braseria? Venise şi ea acolo des? Cu cine? şi în ce sens era geloasă pe noi doi? Îmi reteza,

ca să zic aşa, din faşă dorinţa de a-i pune aceste întrebări şi o făcea cu o capacitate de a vorbi şi a nu

spune nimic enormă prin cumul de cuvinte, care ascundeau un humor secret… Ce? parcă spunea, nu e

amuzant că nu e amuzant ceea ce povestesc? Ei, da, era!

(Marin Preda – Cel mai iubit dintre pământeni)

2. – Crezi tu, cumnată Fenia, că iepuşoara asta de Vica, care e fata lui Andrei Mortu, şi

care s-a aciuat, stricata, în satul nostru, crezi tu că nu e ea în legătură cu hoţul de Andrei, cu ta-su?

Fereşte-l, Fenio, pe Condrat de Vica, numai la oameni buni le-a sucit capul cu dragostea ei păcătoasă:

lui Petre Litră, lui Stavre Păici, lui Chizlinski, lui Luca Horobeţ, oameni aşezaţi, cu o casă de copii. Are

gust de oameni blânzi, şerpoaica, să se încolăcească mai bine, după pofte. Degeaba crezi că a luat-o

Condrat în ceata lui la pescuit, astă-toamnă? Fereşte-l Fenio, aveţi şi aşa numai necazuri, şi apoi Vica

ce zice, acum pun mai bine mâna pe Condrat, că tot trebuie să plece pe front. (…)


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Şi de la Bogdaproste, unde crezi că a răsărit Vica? La Babadag! Oraş mare, cu cale ferată

şi cu geamie. Şi cum crezi c-a răsărit Vica-n Babadag? În stambă înflorată, roşu şi galben, până la

călcâie, şi în cap cu piepteni albaştri. În picioare – ţi-ai găsit să mai umble cu tălpile goale! – umbla-n

sandale de catifea albă cu catarămi rotunde. Şi cui crezi că i-a sucit capul în Babadag? Lui Hogea, popa

al tătarilor şi al turcilor. L-a scos din geamie. Hogea, tinerel de şaptezeci şi opt de ani, curat ca pereţii

de Paşti. Oamenii de la Babadag – oameni subţiri, de oraş – s-au făcut n-aude n-a vede – de obrazul


(Ştefan Bănulescu – Iarna bărbaţilor)



3.1.Syndetic and Asyndetic Coordination

3.2.Coordination and Subordination

3.3.Sentence and Phrase Coordination

3.4.Coordinating Conjunctions

3.5.Verb Agreement with Compound Sentences

3.6.Key Concepts

3.1 Syndetic vs. Asyndetic Coordination

Before we proceed to discuss the notion of coordination, some comment is in order: the term

coordination is going to be used mainly in relation to what some grammarians call syndetic

coordination, i.e. that type of structure where there are explicit indicators that there are two more

elements linked by coordination. This type is placed in opposition to asyndetic coordination, where

there is no indication other than a comma, that elements are coordinated. Consider example

(1) He looked at them sadly and reproachfully.

(S-a uitat la ei cu tristete si repros.)

which is an instance of syndetic coordination.

Example (2), on the other hand, is an illustration of the asyndetic type:


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(2) He looked at them sadly, reproachfully.

(S-a uitat la ei cu tristete, cu repros.)

Example (1) exhibits coordination by means of AND, which is a coordinating conjunction or a

coordinator. The terms linked by the coordinator are called conjuncts.

We will use the term coordination in reference to the first type mentioned above, where a

coordinator is overtly expressed (i.e. present) in the sentence.

3.2.Coordination & Subordination

By definition, coordination (or conjoining) is a syntactic operation that puts together

constituents of the same rank . Conversely, subordination (or Embedding) is a syntactic operation that

involves rank-shifting, namely one constituent is subordinated to a higher-rank constituent.

Consider the following examples where one can look at the same situation expressed differently

from a syntactic point of view:

(3) Hit my wife and you’ll die.

(O lovesti pe sotia mea si vei muri.)

(4) If you hit my wife, you will die.

(Daca o lovesti pe sotia mea, vei muri.)

Such examples, that have a lot in common from a semantic point of view, led grammarians to

believe that coordination is the basic structure wherefrom subordination originated. Example (3) is an

instance of coordination where constituents of the same rank are linked by means of the coordinating

conjunction and. In example (4) one can notice a more complex structure, where the subordinating

conjunction if plays a major part. We will come back to example (3) in a subsequent subsection.

From the previously mentioned examples, we can already make at least two important remarks:

a) that from a formal point of view, coordination differs from subordination in that it is

realized by means of coordinating conjunctions.

b) that there might be important semantic similarities related to examples exhibiting

coordinated, respectively subordinated constituents.


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However, we need to specify that, from a logical & semantic point of view, a major difference

between coordination and subordination is that the information in subordinate clauses is not asserted,

but presupposed.


(5) John came back and gave her a piece of his mind.

(John s-a intors si i-a spus vreo doua.)

(6) John gave her a piece of his mind after he came back.

(John i-a zis vreo doua dupa ce s-a intors.)

Unlike in the case of (5) where we are dealing with assertion, the subordinate adverbial clause

of time contains a presupposition: We presuppose that the event of John’s coming back happened.

c) from a pragmatic point of view it is to be remarked that example (3) will be found more

frequently in instances of dialogue and spoken language as it is obviously characterized by a rather

informal tone.

Activity 1 Coordination and style

The following two passages are straightforward descriptive paragraphs taken from narrative

works. The first is a vivid description of a sequence of actions; the second, a static description of a

small town in nineteenth-century Ireland. The student will notice the almost complete absence of

subordinate clauses from both passages. In the first, this adds to the graphic effect of the movement in

the passage. In the second, the comparative looseness of the sentence construction is admirably suited

to the evocative informality of description.

Passage 1:

The black cloud had crossed the sky, a blob of dark against the stars: The night was quiet again,

Tom stopped into the water and felt the bottom drop from under his feet. He threshed the two strokes

across the ditch and pulled himself heavily up the other bank. His clothes hung to him. He moved and

made a slopping noise; his shoes squished. Then he sat down, took off his shoes and emptied them. He


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wrung the bottom of his trousers, took off his coat and emptied them. He wrung the bottoms of his

trousers, took off his coat and squeezed the water from it.

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Reconstruct the paragraph, combining as many of the simple sentences as you feel reasonable

into compound sentences with subordinate clauses. How does the effect of your passage differ from


Passage 2:

Castlebar had preserved the appearance of a feudal town. Though the castle had vanished, on its

site fortifications still frowned above steep and narrow streets, the houses were beautiful and ancient,

built, with enormous solidity, of cut gray stone, adorned with cornices, stone-wreathed windows and

carved doorways. In the late eighteenth century a Mall had been added to the town, with formal walks

under rows of trees, but the streets tailed off abruptly into mud cabins, curlews wheeled and cried in the

centre of the town, and the walkers in the Mall had bare feet.

Cecil Woocham – Smith, The Reason Why

Compare the previous two passages with the following in point of complexity of structure and

formality of tone. Note that the more intricate construction of the third passage is correlated by the

author to the difficult journey the character in the passage has to make:

Passage 3

The Canon dressed and, waving the remonstrances of his housekeeper aside, left the house.

Before him was a climb that would take at least three hours, over some of the roughest ground in the

country. He walked up to the top of the village street and struck off up a boreen that went for a bit and

then petered out as if discouraged. After that he had to make do with the narrow rocky footpath when

he could see it or stumble a while over the tangled scrub and sharp stones till he found it again. The

unwonted exercise made his heart pound and his head swim, and his clothes stuck damply to him:

darkness fell before he was half-way up and although he had a torch the way in front was so strange


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and featureless he thought he should never arrive at his goal. His feet pained him from continually

stubbing against the bits of rock: in spite of the long dry spell the mountain was soaking, and as the

way is with Irish mountains, the higher he went the wetter it grew, until he found the water gurgling

about his ankles and seeping over the top of his boots; and more than once he missed his footing and

measured his length on the prickly ground.

Honor Tracy – The Straight and Narrow Path

3.3 Sentence vs. Phrase Coordination

Compare the following sentences:

(7) I saw him yesterday and I had seen him the day before yesterday.

(L-am vazut ieri si l-am vazut si alaltaieri.)

(8) I saw him yesterday and the day before yesterday.

(L-am vazut ieri si alaltaieri.)

Example (7) is an instance of sentence coordination, the result of which is a COMPOUND

SENTENCE. A compound sentence is to be placed in opposition to a COMPLEX SENTENCE, where

there is a main clause and one or more subordinate clauses, as shown in (9).

(9) If the authors and publishers of ‘Dick Deadshot’ and such remarkable works were

suddenly to make a raid on the educated class, were to take down the name of every man, however

distinguished, who was caught at a University Extension lecture, were to confiscate all our novels and

warn us to correct all our lives, we should be seriously annoyed.

(G.K. Chesterton – A Defence of Penny Dreadfuls )

Example (8) exhibits an instance of Phrasal Coordination, where we are dealing with a

compound constituent, yesterday and the day before yesterday.


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As one can easily notice, this constituent can be considered to be the result of compressing the

longer and much less economical compound sentence from example (7). This phenomenon of

compression and reduction is called ellipsis.

Activity 2

Distinguish between sentence coordination and phrasal coordination; argue that both are

basic, but phrasal coordination may also result from reduction of coordinated sentences:

1.Bob entered the room and immediately the telephone rang. 2. They are living in Italy or they

are spending a vacation there. 3. Jane might sing but I don’t think she will. 4. John is ready and Mary is

ready. 5. John and Mary are ready. 6 John sang and Mary danced. 7. John and Mary are the newly

married couple. 8. Her pet kitten is black and white. 9. Our flag is red, yellow and blue. 10. His speech

was coherent and understood by almost everybody.

Activity 3

Read the following examples and state whether they have undergone ellipsis or not:

My colleague failed, and I passed, our respective examinations. / Peter and John played

football. / Bob and George are admired by their students. / Peter, but not John, plays football. / Joan

plays many games, and even tennis. / John both composed the music and wrote the words.

Ellipsis can be of two types:

a) the so called forward ellipsis, when it operates on the second conjunct in the structure:

(10) a. John writes poetry and Bill writes prose.

(John scrie poezii si Bill scrie proza.)

b. John writes poetry and Bill prose.

(John scrie poezii si Bill proza.)


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In (10a) the second conjunct has been wiped out, or deleted, as can be seen in (10b).

A deletion of the first conjunct would have been impossible in this case:

(10) c. *John poetry and Bill writes prose.

b) backward ellipsis – when it operates on the first conjunct in the structure:

(11) a. John loves cigars and Bill hates cigars.

(Lui John ii plac trabucurile iar Bill le uraste.)

b. John loves and Bill hates cigars.

(Lui John ii plac iar Bill uraste trabucurile.)

c. * John loves cigars and Bill hates.

Example (11b) predicts the correct deletion of the first conjunct, whereas (11c) shows the

ungrammaticality of a deletion of the first conjunct in this case.

Activity 4

Rewrite the following sentences by using ellipsis:

1.The message was ambiguous and was difficult to comprehend. 2. A burglar must have broken

in and he must have stolen the jewels. 3. Why did you give a gold watch to your secretary and why did

you give a pair of gloves to your wife? 4. Bob may have been listening to music. 5. Bob seems to be

trying hard to get along with Jane and John seems to be trying to get hard to get along with Susan. 6.

Jane forced John to shave himself and Susan forced Bob to wash himself. 7. Father begged Susan to get

married and mother begged Jane to get married. 8. Bob thought of his girlfriend and Tom dreamed of

his girlfriend. 9. Yesterday large flags were flying and this morning small flags were flying. 10. We can

demand payment and we will demand payment.


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Besides ellipsis, substitution is another reduction operation that can be applied to compound


Consider the following:

(12) I was advised to buy a pair of shoes and I bought a pair of shoes.

(Am fost sfatuit sa cumpar o pereche de pantofi si am cumparat o pereche de pantofi.)

The common element, i.e. the predication buy a pair of shoes, can be reduced by substitution, as

can be seen in

(13) I was advised to buy a pair of shoes and I did so/it.

(Am fost sfatuit sa imi cumpar o pereche de pantofi si asta am si facut.)

These two reduction methods can operate within compound sentences due to the fact that

sometimes it is more economical to use a reduced structure, than a longer repetitive one. So, these

syntactical processes, having to do with a change performed in the structure of a sentence, are in fact

motivated by a pragmatic principle, the so-called Principle of Economy, that favours concision and

efficiency in the use of language.

Activity 5

Match the following two columns so as to obtain correct elliptical phrases:

this book and John’s

her son and his

your work and the other

her idea and those

that method and others

your proposal or little

many guests or few

much satisfaction and mine


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Note that the following idioms are built on the same principle as the phrases above: one way or

another, some reason or another, one or (the) other method.

Activity 6

In certain cases, ellipsis may be a fruitful source of ambiguity, since one may interpret the

compound noun phrase or sentence in question as having undergone ellipsis or not. Consider the

following phrases and find as many possible interpretations for them as you can:

(a) the old men and women

(b) simple books and magazines for children

(c) George and Jane are separated.

(d) George and Jane went back to their parents.

Activity 7

Translate the following sentences, using reduced structures:

1.S-a rastit la el si l-a palmuit. 2. Prefer propozitiile de mai jos ori de pe pagina urmatoare. 3. A

citit, interpretat si tradus opera contemporanului sau. 4. Ii plac si are grija de toate pisicile vagaboande

de langa bloc. 5. Intotdeauna am luptat si voi lupta pentru progres. 6. Daca si cand se hotaraste sa plece

in Noua Zeelanda este o problema mai veche. 7.Psiholingvistica si sociolingvistica sunt materii

importante. 8. I-a invitat de ziua lui pe gineri si pe nurori.

Activity 8

Some idiomatic phrases are in fact compound phrases, like: salt and pepper, fish and chips,

sweet and sour, Marks and Spencers. Fill the gaps in these sentences with suitable expressions from the

list below:


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1.I searched ……….. for my wallet. 2. Can we discuss the ………….. of your proposals later

on? 3. Can you show me the ………… to support your argument? 4. She’s a wonderful storyteller:

always the …………… of the party. 5. They get on quite well together, even though they have their

little ………….. 6.You gain some things and you lose others; it’s a case of ………… 7. The police are

responsible for maintaining …………. 8. I’ve tidied up my room and now it’s ………… 9. It was

………… whether the rescuers would get there in time. 10 They’ve shared a lot of experiences: they’ve

been through …………… together. 11. You can’t claim on insurance for ………, only for damage. 12.

I need another 100$ ……….. the amount I’ve already saved up. 13. Nuclear physicists who are also

best-selling writers are ………..… 14. A pendulum swings ……….. 15. He makes a little money out

of writing but teaching is his ………. . 16. After all their adventures, they reached home……….

bread and butter / facts and figures / few and far between / high and low / law and order / life

and soul / over and above / pros and cons / safe and sound / spick and span/ swings and roundabouts /

thick and thin / to and fro / tough and go / ups and downs / wear and tear.

3.4. Coordinating Conjunctions

We can distinguish between three classes of coordinators:

a) Copulative : and / both … and /at once … and / neither … nor / as well as / no less

than / not only … but also, etc. We should also mention here rarer copulative coordinators, such as:

alike … and / nor … nor / nor … or :

(14) His job is at once judicial and political

(Slujba lui este si juridica si politica.)

(15) She went to sleep alike thankless and remorseless.

(A plecat la culcare si nerecunoscatoare si lipsita de remuscari.)

(16) Nor sun, nor wind will strike to kiss thee.

(Nici soare si nici vint nu te-or atinge cu vreun sarut.)


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There are, of course, semantic restrictions on the types of clauses that can be coordinated. For

instance, one cannot couple two sentences with completely different semantic content, as in:

(17) a. *Lions are mammals and Tom bought a car.

b. *I hate plumbers and you learn syntax.

In fact, the expressive function of coordination is, more often than not, to emphasize (semantic)

parallelism or contrast, which is the case with

b) adversative coordinators: but, and

(18) I gave her the money but I didn’t feel happy about it.

(I-am dat banii, dar nu am fost multumit de asta.)

c) disjunctive coordinators: or, either … or

(19) She can either have the money or she can have the clothes.

(Poate primi ori banii ori hainele.)

Some of the aforementioned coordinating conjunctions have correlatives (either … or, both …

and , etc); some of them allow ellipsis of the subject (and, or ; sometimes but, too):

(20) a. I may see you tomorrow or (I) may phone later in the day.

(S-ar putea sa te vad miine sau sa iti telefonez mai incolo.)

b. He went to the safe and (he) took out the money.

(S-a dus la seif si a scos banii.)

c. I gave her the money but (I) didn’t feel happy about it.

(I-am dat banii dar nu mi-a convenit de loc.)

In certain cases, the ellipsis of the subject is even required (see e.g. 20 (b)). If the coordinating

conjunction links two subordinate clauses, where the subordinator is repeated, ellipsis of the subject is

no longer accepted:

(21)* I didn’t object to his proposal since it was very apropiate and since apealed to me.


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Another property some of the coordinators above share is the fact that they can link more than

two clauses:

(22) They both liked Susan and respected her, and cherished her.

(Ei o placeau pe Susan, o respectau si o indrageau.)

An important property shared by coordinating conjunctions has to do with the fact that

sometimes, these coordinators can impose a subordinating shade of meaning upon the conjunctions,

like in the example we discussed at the beginning of this section:

(3) Hit my wife, and you’ll die.

(O lovesti pe sotia mea si ai sa mori.)

In example three one can read a conditional meaning behind the lines. In this case, if we were to

rewrite the example , we could not say something like:

(23) *You’ll die, and hit my wife.

Whenever the coordinating conjunction adds a subordinating tinge of meaning to the conjuncts,

the order of these conjuncts is fixed.

From this point of view, one can differentiate between

a) a symmetric use of coordinators – where the order of the conjuncts is reversible:

(24) a. I like and admire her.

(Imi place si o admir.)

b. I admire and like her.

(O admir si imi place.)

b) an asymmetric use of coordinators – where the order of the conjuncts is irreversible:

(25) a. I washed and ironed my pants.

(Mi-am spalat si calcat pantalonii.)

b.* I ironed and washed my pants.


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Let’s cast a swift glance at the asymmetric uses some conjunctions may have:

1. assymetric AND can impose different shades of subordinative meaning within the

compound sentence:

- chronological sequence (temporal implications)

(26) He sliced and fried the potatoes. (First he sliced them and then he fried them)

(A taiat cartofii si i-a prajit.)

- cause-effect relation

(27) He heard an explosion and (therefore) phoned the police.

(A auzit o explozie si a sunat la politie.)

(28) He didn’t pay the rent and he was evicted from their apartment. (<Because he didn’t

pay, he was evicted)

(N-a platit chiria si a fost dat afara din apartament.)

- if-then relation (supported by proper intonation)

(29) Give me the money and you’ll walk away safely. (If you do that, you will be safe)

(Da-mi banii si poti pleca nevatamat.)

- concessive meaning (plus suitable intonation)

(30) John worked hard for the exam and he failed (Although he worked hard, he failed).

(John a muncit din greu pentru examen si l-a picat.)

- while/whereas – interpretation

(31) Dr. Smith experiments with guinea pigs and Dr. Brown experiments with humans.

(Doctorul Smith face experiente pe cobai iar doctorul Brown face experiente pe oameni.)

(While Dr. Smith performs his experiments with guinea pigs, Dr. Brown does it with humans)

2. Assymetric BUT implies a contrastive effect – like in the case of symmetric BUT – but

this effect results from an unexpected consequence. Compare

(32) a. Jim is brave but John is a coward. (symmetric use)

(Jim e viteaz dar John e un las.)

b. Jim likes computers but John hates them.

(Lui Jim ii plac computerele dar John nu le suporta.)



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(33) Jim is jobless but he is happy. (asymmetric use)

(Jim n-are serviciu dar e fericit.)

3. Asymmetric OR implies again an if-then relationship:

(34) a. You leave my daughter alone, or I’ll break your neck.

(Ori imi lasi fata in pace, ori iti rup gitul.)

b. Stop that noise, or you’ll be punished.

(Incetezi cu zgomotul, ori vei fi pedepsit.)

This use is to be contrasted with the symmetric use of OR, which is in its turn of two types

exclusive OR

(35) You can eat lobster, or you can eat caviar.

(Poti sa mananci homar sau poti sa mananci caviar.)

inclusive OR

(36) If you have enough money you can eat lobster, or you can have caviar … or both.

(Daca ai destui bani poti sa mananci homar sau poti sa comanzi caviar… sau din amindoua.)

Activity 9

Distinguish between symmetric and asymmetric uses of conjunctions:

1.John smoked cigarettes and Bill smoked a pipe. 2. John lit a cigar and Mary left the room. 3.

John went to the cinema and saw a movie. 4. John cooked the steak and he ate it. / John ate the steak

and he cooked it, too. 5. I am a professional man of letters and a typewriter is essential to my work. 6.

That dog is very aggressive and he has never bitten me so far. 7. Lay a hand on me and you’ll scream.

8. Love me and I’ll marry you. 9. John likes opera but Jim hates it. 10. John is good-looking but Kim is

unattractive. 11. We slept late but we caught the train. 12. We want to buy a car but we have not

enough money. 13. They killed him but he came back as a ghost. 14 (Either) we are visiting Aunt

Susan or we’re staying home. 15. John might take them by car, (or) Mary might go with them by bus,

or I might order a taxi for them. 16. People envy me for having a cellular phone, or they regard me as

eccentric. 17. You must be kidding or else you’re out of your mind. 18. Mary was sound asleep or (at


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least) she pretended to be. 19. Let go off me or I’ll scream. 20. This is an early Rembrandt or it is an

excellent Rubens. 21. It must be a Rubens or it would be in a museum. 22. I overslept and I arrived late

at my office, and John was no longer there and (so) I had to deal with Mr. Brown alone.

3.5 Verb Agreement with Compound Subjects

We shall discuss verb-agreement with compound subjects depending on the conjunction that is


AND – the compound subjects correlated by and are generally used with plural verbs:

(37) a. Semantics and syntax are interrelated.

(Semantica este strins legata de sintaxa.)

b. Both your fairness and your kind nature have been appreciated.

(Au fost apreciate atit corectitudinea ta cit si bunatatea ta.)

When the verb appears before the subject, both plural and singular forms are generally

accepted. The singular form is however restricted to informal speech:

(38) There was/were a man and a woman in the room.

(In camera erau un barbat si o femeie.)

There are cases when the compound subject is not made up of the two semantically distinct

conjunctions any more:

(39) a. The hammer and the sickle was flying from the flagpole.

(Secera si ciocanul fluturau sus pe steag.)

b. Fish and chips is my favorite food.

(Pestele cu cartofi prajiti este felul meu de mincare preferat.)

In (39) the subject contains two conjuncts that are perceived as one semantic unit, hence the

singular form of the verb.


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OR, EITHER … OR, NOT (ONLY) … BUT ALSO compound subjects are subject to the rule

of agreement by proximity: the verb agrees with the nearmost conjunct:

(40) a. Not John, but his two brothers are to blame.

(Nu John este de vina, ci cei doi frati ai lui.)

b. Not John’s brother but he is to blame.

(Nu fratele lui John, ci el este de vina.)

NEITHER … NOR compound subjects accept both the singular and the plural form of the verb

since from a syntactical point of view Neither … nor resembles either …or, but semantically it is the

negative counterpart of both … and:

(41) Neither he nor his wife have/has arrived.

(N-au ajuns nici el si nici sotia lui.)

Activity 10

Insert the appropriate verb form:

a.1. Cathy and David (have arrived. 2. The bread and the butter (be) both more expensive this

year. 3. The bread and butter (be) scattered on the floor. 4. The green and blue blanket (be) also to be

washed. 5. The red and the blue shirts (be) washed yesterday. 6. My aim and object (be) to make the

theory clear for all. 7. A carriage and a pair (be) standing at the door. 8. His friend and legal adviser

(be) present at the funeral. 9. My son and heir (be) safe. 10. My son and daughter (be) twins.

b. 1.There (be) a table and some chairs in the room. 2. There (be) some chairs and a table in the

room. 3. Both the houses and the garden (be) damaged by the fire. 4. Not only the houses but also the

garden (be) damaged by the fire. 5. Not John but his two sons (be) to blame. 6. A traffic warden or a

policeman (be) always on the watch in this street. 7. Either Peter or John (have) had breakfast already.

8. Either the child or the parents (be) to blame. 9. Neither he nor his wife (be) here. 10. Neither Isabel

nor I (be) timid people.


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3.6. Key Concepts

Coordination is defined in opposition to subordination, as being a syntactic process where

elements of the same rank are conjoined. This section also attempts to draw attention upon certain

points of similarity between coordination and subordination, especially those related to the asymmetric

uses of coordinating conjunctions.

As shown, certain compound sentences can be reformulated as complex ones, namely as a main

clause plus a subordinate one.

Emphasis is also laid on the reductive methods that can be applied to compound sentences or to

compound phrases: ellipsis (or deletion) and substitution.

Activity 11 (Optional Exercises)

Translate the following, making use of the theoretical framework offered above:

1) 1. Sunt doctori si doctori pe lumea asta. 2. Frate nefrate, tot am sa-i cer bani pentru

medicamente. 3. O sa stam impreuna, la bine si la rau. 4. Nu-i nici cal, nici magar. 5. Sper ca scrisoarea

mea te gaseste bine, sanatos. 6. “Cum o mai duci?” “ N-am murit inca, multumesc de intrebare.” 7.

Sotul ei e de mult mort si-ngropat. 8. Au venit la mine cu catel si cu purcel. 9. Interzis consumul de

alcool la volan. 10 S-a dus la culcare cu tot cu haine pe el. 11. Taras, grapis, tot am sa termin lucrarea.

2) 1. Nu era inchipuit si nu se credea frumos, dar un instinct de conservare fizica il facea

sa-si umfle bicepsii si cosul pieptului si sa fandeze plastic cu piciorul drept inainte, pentru a obtine

maximul de volum al pulpei.

2. Vru sa-si incerce puterea bratelor rezemandu-se cu toata greutatea trupului pe speteaza unui

scaun, dar acesta trosni asa de tare, incat spre a evita un accident, Jim renunta si se multumi sa

boxeza arcurile desfundate ale canapelei si pernele din pat.

3.Bunica si bunicul au trait fara baie-n casa si a fost bine! Ati venit dvs. mai cu mot!”


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4.-Ce stai de vorbesti? Se scandaliza baba. Cum s-aduc eu stropitoarea in casa?

-Sa mi-o aduci, altfel nu e de trai cu mine!

5. Jim statu putin sa se gandeasca, fiindca nu vedea inca modul de intrebuintare. Sa atarne

stropitoarea de cuiul din tavan si apoi sa-i dea inclinare deasupra capului, n-avea nici cu ce-o lega si ii

era teama sa nu se surpe cumva tavanul. Sa toarne apa in lighean, ligheanul era prea mic.

6. Silivestru ramase si scarbit de platitudinea cugetarilor, dar si mirat de o precocitate pe

care el n-o cunoscuse.

7. – Doamna, tiu sa va declar ca n-am venit decat sa va cer invoirea de a ne casatori si de a

pleca apoi unde vom crede de cuviinta. Nu numai ca nu trebuie sa va ingrijorati, dar va cer permisiunea

de a ma ocupa eu in chip exclusiv de acest eveniment si favoarea de a nu se mai vorbi de chestiuni


(G. Calinescu – Cartea Nuntii )

Activity 12

Read the following and comment on the conjunctions that link the phrases below; try to rewrite

those phrases:

A pleasant if talkative child / a shabby though comfortable armchair / a simple yet devout

prayer / He looked at me kindly if somewhat skeptically / He drove quickly yet safe / an intelligent

albeit rash leader (albeit – rare, formal conjunction) / He spoke firmly albeit pleasantly.


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4.1.The Functional Criterion of Classification

4.2.The Structural Criterion of Classification

4.3.Key Concepts

As previously shown, the complex sentence is made up of at least one main clause and a

dependent or a subordinate one. Unlike in the case of compound sentences - which are based on

coordination - the complex sentence relies heavily on the process of subordination. This is the reason

why a classification of subordinate clauses should be in order.

Classifying dependent clauses will employ two main criteria:

4.1. the FUNCTIONAL one – which, as the name suggests it, takes into consideration the

syntactic function of the respective clause.

From the functional point of view, subordinates can be classified into:

a) subject clauses

(1) Whoever did that was a genius.

(2) It seems that he is not your friend.

b) object clauses – this class includes direct objects, indirect objects and prepositional


(3) I believe that he is not here. (Direct Object)

(Cred ca nu este acolo.)

(4)I am afraid that he won’t come (Prepositional Object)

(Mi-e teama ca nu o sa vina.)

(5) I gave this to whomever wanted it. (Indirect Object)

(Am dat asta cui a vrut-o.)


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At this point we need to provide some further explanation. An OBJECT refers to only those

items (phrases, sentences) required by the verb (or adjective). They have the feature [+ obligatory] and,

even on the rare occasions when they can be omitted, they are still presupposed by the speaker.

For instance, the verb give is always accompanied in our mind by its obligatory complements

(direct and indirect objects):

(6) He gave the book to her.

(I-a dat cartea.)

These objects are presupposed by us whenever we think of this verb. We do not pressupose

however something like an adverbial item, such as the manner adverbials with with pleasure/willingly.

(7) He willingly gave the book to her.

(I-a dat cartea de buna voie.)

In (7) we can identify the verb’s obligatory objects (the book, to her) and one extra-item, an

additional one, which is the adverbial willingly. These non-obligatory items are called adjuncts.

A second observation, related to example (4), has to do with why we consider the subordinate

that he won’t come to be a prepositional object. The explanation is simple: this subordinate can be

easily replaced by a phrase preceded by a preposition, and this preposition is in fact required and

presupposed as accompanying the adjective afraid:

(8) a. I am afraid of his not coming/of this fact.

(Mi-e teama ca n-o sa vina.)

b. I am afraid that he won’t come.

(Mi-e teama ca n-o sa vina.)

We believe that the subordinating conjunction THAT has replaced the preposition, since

English no longer allows for a conjunction and a preposition to be put together.

(9) *I am afraid of that he won’t come.

We presuppose that the preposition of has been deleted, but its effect remains even after its

wipe-out. That is why we choose to call prepositional object the that-clause following the adjective



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So far we have discussed subject clauses and object clauses. The third class is made up of

(c) adjuncts – those clauses (or phrases) whose presence is not obligatorily required by a verb or

an adjective. They normally have an adverbial (circumstancial) interpretation:

(10)Before she left the room she closed all the windows.

(Inainte sa plece din camera, a inchis toate ferestrele.)

(11) If you don’t marry me, I’ll die.

(Daca nu te insori cu mine, am sa mor.)

(d) attributes or modifiers – those clause (or phrases) that characterize nominal phrases:

(12) The woman who was wearing red was sitting next to him on the platform.

(Femeia in rosu statea linga el pe peron.)

(13)The red-wearing woman was sitting next to him on the platform.

(Femeia in rosu statea linga el pe peron.)

Activity 1

Which of the following underlined items are obligatory and which are not?

1.She came to him of her own will. 2. I cannot tell you what I heard about you. 3. Susan

disappeared without saying a word. 4. She’s aware of his rage and that he might punish her. 5. She told

whomever wanted to listen about her problems at home. 6. After I told her the story, she looked at me


Activity 2

Read the following and identify the subordinate clauses, stating their function:

1.He took an intelligent interest in her, which, though it was largely politeness, was a novelty to

Mitzi. 2. When Mitzi bought the house in Brook Green she offered Austin the best rooms, but he

declined, as he had just found the little Bayswater which he inhabited still. 3. At this time we know that

we are mortal beings with but a short span of days and that our end as our beginning belongs to God.


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4. Sometimes she thought that her own failure to marry Mathew was actually the cause of Austin’s

marrying Dorina. 5. You must know that if you do not meet it right here at home, you are choosing

exile from what you are fortunate enough to call your homeland. 6. You suggestion that we should, at

our age, remove our home yet again seems to us merely thoughtless.

(Iris Murdoch – An Accidental Man)

4.2. The second criterion we employ to differentiate between various subordinate clauses is

the STRUCTURAL one. We classify dependent clauses acording to what introductory element they


a) complement clauses – mainly those clauses introduced by THAT, WHETHER, FOR,


(14) I knew that he liked me.

(Stiam ca ma simpatizeaza.)

(15) I didn’t know whether he would visit me in jail.

(N-am stiut daca o sa ma viziteze la inchisoare.)

(16) It is advisable for him to leave.

(E de dorit sa plece.)

(17) I wanted to leave immediately.

(Am vrut sa plec imediat.)

b) wh-complements – those clauses introduced by a wh-word/phrase

These include:

indirect questions

(18) I didn’t know who had killed him.

(Nu stiam cine l-a ucis.)

relative clauses

(14) I was afraid of what he might say.

(Mi-era groaza de ce ar putea spune.)


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cleft sentences

(15) It is John who did it.

(John este cel care a facut asta.)

pseudo-cleft sentences

(16) a. Who did it was John.

(Cel care a facut asta este John.)

b. Where he went is London.

(Locul in care s-a dus este Londra.)

(c) adverbial clauses – those clauses subordinated by such conjunctions as: although, if, before,


Unlike complement clauses, these ones are introduced by subordinating conjunctions with a

distinct semantical change.

Compare, for instance, the following two clauses:

(17) She told me that I was a fool.

(Mi-a spus ca sint un prost.)

(18) She told me this before she left.

(Mi-a spus aceasta inainte sa plece.)

In (17) the meaning of the subordinate clause is imposed by the verb in the main clause. The

subordinating conjunction that is abstract in meaning. In (18), however, the meaning of the subordinate

(that of a time adverbial clause) is offered and imposed by the subordinating conjunction not by the

main clause verb.

Activity 3

Read the text below and try to identify subordinate clauses from a structural point of view:

My dearest son,

Your father has suggested that I should write to you so that you can be sure that he and I are of

one mind in this matter. I am not very good at this sort of letter and I did not earlier write because the

discussion was between yourself and your father, you understand. Dear Ludwig, I cannot express to


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you how much we miss you. To say that I think of my dear son every day says little. I think of him

every minute and remember what times in our day and night are his bed-time and his getting-up-times,

and every night and indeed always in my thoughts I pray for him that he may be protected and guided

to do the right. (…) Even leaving aside the concern which I know you have for our feelings, surely you

cannot sincerely believe, at your young age, that you will never want to set foot in the US in your life

again. We so much fear that you will suddenly decide to come later when it will all have such terrible


(Iris Murdoch – An Accidental Man)

4.3. Key Concepts

We classify subordinate clauses according to their function into subjects, objects (which are

always obligatorily required by a verb or adjective), adjuncts and attributes (or modifiers, because they

modify, offer a plus of meaning to the nominal they accompany).

According to a structural criterion, which regards the introductory conjunction / pronoun of the

subordinate, these clauses can be complements, wh-complements, adverbials (they normally

correspond to he Romanian complement circumstantial).

Activity 4 (Optional Exercises)

Translate the following, making use of the information on subordinate clauses supplied by this

section :

1. Cu cateva luni inaintea razboiului Anton Modan nu stia ca de mult nu mai era om

indraznet, atat de demult incat in ziua cand afla nici macar nu se mai trudi cu gandul sa se intoarca

inapoi si sa-si dea seama de cand.

2. Nevasta secera in tacere, fara sa-si ridice spinare, si din miscarile ei se putea intelege ca

e stapana pe un gand care o tinea mereu incordata si indarjita. Anton se uita la ea si se intreba, ce o fi

avand. Tot timpul diminetii o vazuse ca tace.


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3. Cand Anton lasa secerea unii se uitara la soare sa-si dea seama daca mai e mult pana la

pranz. (…) “Ma, dar devreme mai mananca Anton asta!” gandira ei. Altii, insa, care ii vazusera pe

Anton si nevasta-sa cum stateau cu secerile in mana si se uitau unul la altul, isi spusesera ca Anton,

dupa ce ca are grau putin, nici pe ala nu-l secera ca lumea.

4. O zbughi inapoi, dar dupa ce alerga vreo douazeci de pasi, simtind ca nu s-a luat nimeni

dupa el, se opri si se uita sa vada ce isprava a facut.

5. Toata lumea intelesese ca, de fapt, amenintarea aceasta semana mai mult cu o flacara

care ramane o clipa in aer, desi paiele de dedesubt sunt cenusa, decat cu amenintare adevarata. Fiindca

un on indraznet nu se clatina pe drum, sau daca se clatina se intoarce indarat si nu mai ameninta,

fiindca si sa inghiti nu e putin, si pentru asta iti trebuie curaj.

(Marin Preda – Indrazneala)



5.1.Relative Clauses and Other Kinds of Relatives

5.2.The Coreference Condition

5.3.The Classification of Relative Clauses

5.6.Restrictions Imposed On the Relative Clause by the Determiner of the 5.7.Antecedent

5.8.Relative Clause Introducers

5.9.Pied Piping and Preposition Stranding

5.10.Key Concepts

5.1 Relative Clauses and Other Kinds of Relatives

By relative clauses we understand:

a) all the wh-complements mentioned in the previous section.

b) other kinds of relative clauses such as

that relatives (those relative clauses introduced by THAT)

(1) This is a gift that you fully deserve.

(Acesta este un cadou pe care il meriti pe deplin.)


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participial relatives

(2) The fellow wearing those odd clothes is Jane’s husband.

(Barbatul in haine ciudate este sotul lui Jane.)

infinitival relatives

(3) I need some tools with which to fix the car.

(Am nevoie de unelte cu care sa repar masina.)

We will mainly focus on wh-complements leaving aside other kinds of relatives and cleft


5.2. The Coreference Condition - a discussion of attributive relatives

As we shall see, relative clauses can have more than one syntactical function. The best known

function, normally associated with relative clauses is that of Attribute. We shall first discuss relative

clauses functioning as attributes in order to establish the mechanism that grants their existence.

These relative clauses represent a type of subordination that is based on the fact the the main

clause and the subordinate clause share a nominal constituent. Consider the following:

(4) I met a woman. John loves that woman.

By combining these two clauses, we obtain

(5) I met a woman whom John loves.

(Am cunoscut o femeie pe care o iubeste John.)

What has happened? The common element woman appears in the main clause only and is

resumed by the relative pronoun introducing the second clause. We presuppose that the phrase the

woman in the second clause under (4) has been transformed into a relative constituent (it has been

relativized) and moved at the beginning of the clause to link it to the previous one. The place where the

phrase the woman used to stand has remained empty, like a gap:

(6) I met a woman whom John loves _____.

Since the phrase a woman and the relative pronoun whom under (6) refer to the same object,

we can co-index them (that is we place the same index under each of them):

(7) I met a womani whomi John loves _____.

But how do we mark the fact that the verb loves used to have a direct object right after it that

has been moved up front?


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We place the same index under the letter t (that stands for trace):

(8) I met a womani whomi John loves ti .

This way, we can clearly indicate that the coreference condition that stipulated the necessity of

a shared nominal for the main clause and the relative attributive clause has been observed.

The relative pronoun preserves its function of a direct object within the relative subordinate. Let

us supply an example where the relative pronoun functions as a prepositional object:

(9) I met a woman. John offered flowers to that woman.

The common element woman is present, so the coreference condition (that the two clauses

should have coreferring elements) is observed. The resulting structure can have two forms:

(10) a. I met a womani whoi John had offered flowers to ti

b. I met a womani to whomi John had offered flowers ti

In point of terminology, we call the nominal that the relative clause refers to the antecedent of

the relative clause. The element that has been moved in front position and transformed into a relative

pronoun is called the relativized constituent.

The mechanism that allows for the appearance of relative attributive clauses is movement: the

movement of the relativized constituent in initial position, by leaving behind a trace.

Activity 1

Combine the following sentences so as to get relative attributive clauses ( some of the

sentences can be combined in two ways):

1.She came to London. I went to London, too. 2. John told his friend a story about the king. The

king was just passing by. 3. They met those students. None of the students agreed with them. 4. I

bought Jim a book. He liked that book. 5. I introduced him to Jim. He told Jim everything about his

plans. 6. Susan wants to meet Jane. She doesn’t know anything about Jane. 7. I had a book. I lost the

book’s cover. 8. This is my husband. I am my husband’s wife. 9. The students like their teacher. Any of

the students would answer to questions. 10. The students like their teacher. All of them would answer

their teacher’s questions.


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Activity 2

Write a sentence as similar as possible to the given one. Use the word in capitals without

changing it:

1. Whose is the car which is blocking the street? WHOM

2. This is the town in which Charles Dickens was buried. WHERE

3. It was silly of him to tell her the secret. WHICH

4. He’s the author who received the prize. WHO

5. These are people about whom we cannot tell much. WHO

6. That couple had their child abducted by terrorists. WHOSE

7. It was such a pity that you couldn’t join the party. WHICH

8. To whom are you writing this letter? WHO

9. This is the guy that they first met in Monte Carlo. WHOM

10. These are the tulips that were awarded the big prize. TO

11. A lot of tourists went on a trip to Delphi; most of them were from England. WHOM

5.3. The Classification of Relative Clauses

According to the criterion of form, relative clauses are divided into

1. dependent relative clauses (clauses that have an overt antecedent, i.e. whose main clause

contains a nominal that can be co-indexed with the introducing relative pronoun)

(11)This is the mani whomi I love.

(Acesta este barbatul pe care il iubesc.)

Under (11) the relative subordinate finds its antecedent in the main clause: the phrase the man.

2. independent relative clauses or Free Relative Clauses (those clauses which lack an overt

antecedent, that do not have an expressed antecedent in the main clause)

(12) Who breaks pays.

(Cine strica plateste.)

(13) Whoever swims in sin shall swim sorrow.

(Cine pacatuieste mult va suferi.)


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Example (12) is an instance of a relative clause (introduced by a wh-element) whose antecedent

has been deleted, is no longer overtly expressed, unlike in the case of (14), where we are looking at a

more obsolete (i.e. far-fetched) form of the same sentence:

(14) He i whoi breaks pays.

(Cel care strica plateste.)

So, in a manner of speaking, we can assume that Independent or Free Relative Clauses must

have originated from dependent ones; only their antecedent is no longer expressed, it is covert. Unlike

their sisters, these relatives, cannot function as attributes, they currently fulfill the function of subjects

or objects, as follows:

Subject Free Relative Clause

(15) Whoever touches pitch shall be defiled.

(Cine se atinge de smoala va fi intinat.)

Direct Object

(16) I would like to know what you need.

(As dori sa stiu ce vrei.)

Indirect Object (the only clauses that can have this function in fact)

(17) He gave whoever came to the door a winning smile.

(Oferea un zimbet cuceritor oricui venea la usa lui.)

Prepositional Object

(18) You should vote for whichever candidate you think best.

(Trebuie sa votezi cu candidatul pe care il consideri cel mai potrivit.)


(19) This was what she intended.

(Asta era ceea ce voise ea.)


(20) Go wherever you want.

(Du-te unde poftesti.)

The second criterion that further classifies relative clauses has to do with meaning and is

restricted to dependent relatives only. They can be thus divided into:

1. defining or restrictive relative clauses (those dependent relative clauses that identify an

antecedent; they offer crucial information about this antecedent, they define it).

(21) The man who came to woo me was a god.


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(Cel care a venit sa ma peteasca era un zeu.)

(Only that particular man that was my suitor looked like a god)

2. non-defining or non-restrictive or appositive relative clauses (those dependent relative

clauses that do not offer crucial information about the antecedent. They only provide supplementary

information about it.)

(22) Mercury, who is the god of commerce, is my favourite god.

(Mercur, care este zeul negotului, este zeul meu favorit.)

(Mercury, who incidentally is the god of commerce, is my favourite god)

The function of non-restrictive relative clauses is that of Appositive attributes. Their meaning is

also reinforced by ortography, and by the intonation the speaker uses in uttering the whole sentence.

In conclusion, a diagram would sum up the types of relative clauses discussed:






The man who came to see me is a genius.


That man, who came to see me, is a genius.



Whoever came to see me was a genius.

Activity 3

Identify the relative clauses stating their type in the sentences below:

1. This is the village where I spent my youth. 2. Did he mention the time when the plane

will take off? 3. Did they tell you the reason why they all left? 4. Shakespeare, who is a genius, is a

great playwright. 5. The advantage of the supermarket is that you can buy what you want at a place

where you can park your car. 6. On the day on which this occurred I was away. 7. He cannot have been

more than twenty when we first met. 8. I have met him where I least expected. 9 She, on whom nobody


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could depend, was the one we all welcomed and admired. 10. They are what their parents made them,

however sad this may be.

5.4 Restrictions Imposed On The Relative Clause by the Determiner of the Antecedent

1. When the antecedent has no determiner, it can only be followed by a non-defining

relative clause (an apposition):

(23) Freddie Mercury , who died a few years ago, composed The Bohemian Rhapsody.

(Freddie Mercury, care a murit acum citiva ani, a compus The Bohemian Rhapsody.)

When combined with a restrictive relative clause, the proper name is recategorized into a

common name and receives its own determiner (the, a, etc.):

(24) The Freddie Mercury I knew was a rock-star.

(Freddie Mercury pe care-l cunosteam eu era o vedeta rock.)

(25) I know a Freddie Mercury who gives piano lessons.

(Cunosc un Freddie Mercury care da lectii de pian.)

2. First and second person pronouns do not normally take restrictive relative clauses. They

can be followed only by non-restrictive ones (appositions):

(26) I , who am your son, can see your shortcomings only too well.

(Eu, care-ti sint fiu, iti vad prea bine defectele.)

(27) Anybody else would have done something except myself, who am not a woman, but a

peevish, ill-tempered, dried-up old maid.

(Oricine ar fi actionat, numai eu nu, care nu sint o femeie, ci o fata batrina morocanoasa,

iritabila si uscata.)

(28) They come to me, who neither work nor am anxious.

(Ei apeleaza la mine, care nici nu muncesc si nici nu sint ingrijorat.)

Third person pronouns however do accept restrictive relative clauses:

(29) He who laughs last laughs best (archaic).

(Cine ride la urma ride mai bine.)


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Activity 4

Translate the following, paying attention to the restriction imposed by antecedent determiners

on relative clauses:

1. Acesta nu este Bucurestiul pe care-l stiu eu. 2. Dintre toate personajele prezente, printul a

ales-o pe Cenusareasa, care era cea mai frumoasa fata din sala. 3. Dintre toate persoanele de fata a

trebuit sa ma alegi pe mine sa vorbesc, care nu stiu sa leg nici doua cuvinte. 4. Cine nu munceste nu

izbandeste. 5. Voi care ca credeti mari si tari, poftiti in fata. 6. Cu totii doreau sa-l auda pe acel Luciano

Pavarotti care incantase mii de iubitori de opera. 7. Mie, careia nu-mi placea sa las lucrurile

neterminate, nu-mi convenea o astfel de situatie.

5.5 Relative Clause Introducers

Relative clause introducers are usually placed at the beginning of the relative clause. In literary

English they may sometimes be found later in the sentence:

after a present participle

(30) … saying which he left the room

(… care lucruri fiind spuse, parasi camera.)

after an infinitive

(31) The African queen issued forth upon the Lake to gain which they had run such dangers

and undergone such toils.

(Regina africana se napusti spre lac sa redobindeasca cele pentru care trecusera prin atitea

pericole si avusesera parte de atita truda.)

As the object of a preposition and after than:

(32) He consulted his watch at 10-minute intervals, in spite of which the service finished late.

(Se uita la ceas din zece in zece minute, si cu toate acestea slujba s-a terminat tirziu.)

(33) He was a railway fanatic, than whom few more can be more crashing.

(Era un fanatic al mersului cu trenul, si putini oameni il intreceau la asta.)

Sometimes the preposition can have partitive value:

(34) He was prone to an inevitable series of moods, each of which has evolved its own

system of harmony.


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(Era inclinat spre stari schimbatoare, si fiecare din aceste stari isi dobindise propriul sistem de


(35) The compositions of Cardan, some of the last notes of whose harp he heard, were now in

his possession.

(Compozitiile lui Cardan, ale caror ultime note de harpa le auzise, erau acum in posesia lui.)

Aside from these marginal examples, relative clause introducers retain their clause initial

position. We shall briefly have a look at the most important ones.

5.5.1. Relative Pronouns

Who [+human] with its case forms whom [+human] and whose [± human] :

(36) a. The woman who came to see my painting was the Queen itself.

(Femeia care a venit saa imi vada tabloul era Regina insasi.)

b. The woman to whom you showed the painting was the Queen.

(Femeia careia i-ai aratat tabloul era Regina.)

c. The woman whose painting I sold was very young.

(Femeia al carui tablou l-am vindut era foarte tinara.)

d. The painting whose buyer she was looked marvelous.

(Tabloul al carui cumparator era arata minunat.)

Whose appears as the appropriate genitive form for both [+human] and [-human] objects, as can

be seen in (36d). The genitive form with which is still in use, too, but it is typical of the formal, literary


(37) a. The book whose cover I lost was very expensive.

(Cartea a carei coperta am pierdut-o era foarte scumpa.)

b. The book the cover of which I lost was very expensive.

(Cartea a carei coperta am pierdut-o era foarte scumpa.)

(37b) is an example of relative clause introduced by a genitival pronoun where there is a form

of inversion imposed by the presence of the genitive form of which. There are situations when

inversion is not obligatory, but these ones are even more infrequent than those illustrated under (37b):

(38) …as if she were being gradually cornered by a cruelty of which he was the almost

unconscious agent.

(Iris Murdoch, An Accidental Man)

(… de parca era incet-incet incoltita de o cruzime al carei agent aproape inconstient era el.)


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Which [-human]

(39) The story which he claimed to have told was too fantastic for my taste.

(Povestea pe care pretindea ca a spus-o era prea fantastica pentru gustul meu.)

There are a few exceptions when which can acquire the feature [+human]:

When which has a partitive value:

(40) Which of the two men is nicer?

(Care dintre ei este mai dragut?)

However in rhetorical question who is still preferred:

(41) Who of us will stain his hands with murder?

(Cine dintre noi isi va minji miinile cu o crima?)

with archaic value:

(42) Our Father, which art in Heaven …

(Tatal nostru carele esti in ceruri…)

When a personal denotation refers not to an individual, but to a type or a function:

(43) a. Shaw is commonly regarded more as a funny man than as the revolutionary which at

bottom he is.

(Shaw este in general privit mai degraba ca un tip hazliu decit ca revolutionarul care este

in esenta.)

b. Freud is the analyst which we must enjoy.

(Freud este psihanalistul pe care trebuie sa-l citim)

c. He is not the man which he used to be.

(Nu mai este omul care era odata.)

When its genitive form is used to give a very formal tone to the passage (but this is very


(44) Livia had just been delivered of twin boys, of which, by the way, Sejanus seems to have

been the father.

(Livia tocmai nascuse doi baieti gemeni, al caror tata se pare ca era Sejanus.)

Both who and which are used for:

collective nouns

(45) a. This was a tribe who moved from the Baltic Sea.

(Acesta era un trib care venise de la Marea Baltica.)

b. … Asiatic tribes and American tribes which resemble each other.

(… triburile asiatice si amer-indiene care seamana intre ele.)


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states, animals, ships (that can be personified)

(46) a. … Italy, which entered the war in May 1915 …

(…Italia care a intrat in razboi in mai 1915…)

b. … France, whom it concerned most closely, did however take certain precautions …

(… Franta, pe care o privea direct, si-a luat totusi niste precautii…)

what – can normally introduce only free relative clauses:

(47) I didn’t know what they wanted.

(Nu stiam ce vor.)

The rare occasions when what functions as an introducer of restrictive relative clauses, it is

a) archaic

(48) It is rich what gets the peaches,

It is poor what gets the punches.

(Cei bogati primesc onoruri, cei saraci primesc ponoase.)

b) dialectal

(49) a. …the bloke what signs our books …

(tipul care ne semneaza cartile)

b. One can’t expect foreigners to ‘ave the same ideas what we ‘ave.

(one cannot expect foreigners to have the same ideas that we have)

(Nu poti sa te astepti ca strainii sa aiba ce idei avem noi.)

5.5.2 Relative Adverbs: when, where, while, why, how, etc.

When they introduce restrictive relative clauses, their antecedents are nouns expressing places,

time, reason, etc. and can be replaced by prepositional phrases with adverbial function:

(50) a. Poland is the place where Christine was born.

(Polonia este locul in care s-a nascut Christine.)

b. Poland is the place in which Christine was born.

(Polonia este locul in care s-a nascut Christine.)

(51) a. Ten o’clock is the time when they have lunch.

(Ora zece este momentul cind ei iau prinzul.)

b. Ten o’clock is the time at which they have lunch.

(Ora zece este momentul cind ei iau prinzul.)

When they introduce free relative clauses, no antecedents are required:


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(52) a. He went where he had been before.

(S-a dus unde mai fusese.)

b.They left when they decided it was proper to.

(Au plecat cind s-a hotarat ca este potrivit.)

There are cases when these adverbs can appear in their older forms (in archaic passages):

(53) a. The place whither he goes is unknown.

(Locul catre care merge este necunoscut.)

b. They returned to the land whence they had come.

(S-au intors in tara din care venisera.)

c. A system where by a new discovery will arise.

(Un sistem prin care va aparea o noua descoperire)

d. A dark forrest wherein dangers lurk.

(O padure intunecata in care ne pandesc primejdiile.)

e. This is the place wherefrom they came.

(Acesta este locul din care au venit.)

5.5.3. Relative THAT

Relative THAT normally appears as the introducer of restrictive relative clauses:

(54) This is the book that pleased her most.

(Aceasta este cartea care o incinta cel mai mult.)

It is invariable, never preceded by prepositions and requires an antecedent with the exception of

archaic idiomatic contents:

(54) Handsome is that handsome does.

(Only the person that behaves in a handsome way can be considered handsome).

Moreover, the relative introducer THAT – unlike its pair that introduces complement that-

clauses – can have almost any syntactic function within the relative clause:


(55) Did you see the letter [that came today?]

(Ai vazut scrisoarea care a sosit azi?)

Direct Object

(56) Did you get the books [that I sent you?]

(Ai primit cartile pe care ti le-am trimis?)


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Prepositional Object

(57) That is the man [that I was talking about.]

(Acesta este cel despre care vorbeam.)


(58) He is not the man [that he was.]

(Nu este omul care era odinioara.)


(59) Tuesday was the day [that he left.]

(Ziua in care a plecat a fost o marti.)

When do we prefer to use THAT instead of WHICH/WHO?

When the antecedent is a compound nominal that refers to a human and a thing:

(60) The children were the parcels that filled the car.

(Copiii erau pachetele ce umpleau masina.)

With a superlative antecedent

(61) She is the prettiest girl that I have ever seen.

(Este fata cea mai frumoasa pe care am vazut-o vreodata.)

With an antecedent preceded by determiners such as: all, every, any, not any, much,


(62) That ugly little house was all the home that I have ever had.

(Casuta aceea urita era singurul camin pe care l-am avut vreodata.)

When the rule of euphony must be observed

(63)a. Who that knew her would help loving her?

(Cine dintre cei care o cunosteau se puteau impiedica sa o iubeasca?)

b.* Who who knew her could help loving her?

5.5.4. Other relative introducers

There are of course other relative clauses introducers, but they are used very infrequently: as,


in standard language

(64)a. Honest man as he was, it went against the grain with him to step into his shoes.

(Cinstit cum era, era contrar naturii sale sa il urmeze.)


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b. I’ll get you such things as you may want.

(O sa iti dau acele lucruri pe care le doresti.)

c. This is the same one that/as you had before.

(Este la fel cu cel pe care l-ai avut.)

in dialect

(65) a. Uncle George, him as was in China …

(Uncle George, who had been in China …)

(Unchiul George, care fusese in China…)

b. There’s not many as’ll say that.

(There aren’t many who will say that)

(Nu-s multi care sa spuie asta…)

archaic use

(66) a. There is no man but feels pity for starving children. (There isn’t a man who doesn’t

feel pity …)

(Nu e om care sa nu simta mila fata de copiii care mor de foame)

b. There is no one of us but wishes to help you.

(Nu este nimeni dintre noi care sa nu vrea sa te ajute.)

c. I never had a slice of bread

Particularly long and wide

But feel upon the sandy floor,

And always on the buttered side.

(Niciodata nu s-a intimplat, cind am avut o bucata de piine maricica, sa nu imi cada pe podeaua

murdara, si intotdeauna pe partea unsa cu unt.)

Sometimes in colloquial or dialectal English, the relative clause introducer is omitted:

(67) a. It’s the dry weather does it.

(It’s the dry weather that is to blame.)

b. It was me made her think that was the best thing to do.

(It was me who made her think…)

This phenomenon is usually met with cleft relative clauses such as those under (67).

This remark brings us to another important question to ask: When can we delete relative clause

introducers? The answer to this question is rather straight: relative introducers can be deleted whenever

THAT can be used as an alternative to the respective relative introducer.


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For instance in

(68) The man whom John met lives in Boston.

(Omul pe care l-a intilnit John locuieste in Boston)

The relative pronoun whom can indeed be replaced by that:

(69) The man that John met lives in Boston.

(Omul pe care l-a intilnit John locuieste in Boston)

This means that both whom and that can be deleted without the sentence losing its


(70) The man John met lives in Boston.

Omul pe care l-a intilnit John locuieste in Boston)

Note that deletion is impossible in

(71) The man whom John spoke to is an idiot.

(Cel cu care vorbeste John este un idiot.)

since a replacement of the relative phrase with that cannot be performed in view of the fact that

the relative introducer that cannot preceded by preposition (see subsection 5.5.3):

(72)a. * The man to that John spoke is an idiot.

b.*The man John spoke to is an idiot.

When the preposition appears at the end of the clause, the replacement is allowed and deletion

is indeed an option:

(73) a. The man who John spoke to is a genius.

(Cel cu care vorbeste John este un geniu.)

b. The man that John spoke to is a genius.

(Cel cu care vorbeste John este un geniu.)

c. The man John spoke to is a genius.

(Cel cu care vorbeste John este un geniu.)

Activity 5

Analyse the function of the relative clause and of the relative pronoun that introduces it:


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1. She was a poor housewife, but a passionate knitter, the products of whose nimble fingers

were worn by Stollfus. 2. It is therefore not surprising that the theology upon which the Reformation

was founded should be due to a man whose sense of sin was abnormal. 3. He had entertained hopes of

being admitted to a sight of the young ladies, of whose beauty he had heard so much. 4. He thought

how like her her expression was then to what it had been the moment when she looked round at the

doctor. 5. He is also handsome, which a young man ought likewise to be. 6. And that money, which

will not be yours, until your mother’s decease, is all that you may ever be entitled to. 7. And yet, you

should go to the place where the river is, to where the rich and powerful are. 8. I cannot see him

whenever he pleases. 9. It was family pride and filial pride, for he is very proud of what his father was.

10. One evening of each week was set aside for the reception of whosoever chose to visit him. 11. This

law was that which the senator thought of as his legislative masterpiece. 12. Only three were aware of

what was undoubtedly known there. 13. These people never want to talk about what you want to talk

about. 14. He flunked whatever students he disliked. 15. They listened to what he had to say.

Activity 6

Comment upon the grammaticality of the following:

a) The man who(m)/*which/that/ we saw was nice. b) The book *who(m)/which/that/ I

read last night surprised me. c) The woman who/*whom/*which/that/ came to dinner was very late.

d) The book*whom/which/that/* deals with this problem is very good. e) The man for

whom/*who/*which/*that/* we are looking is not here. f) The man who(m) I *which/that/ we are

looking for is not here. g) The book for *whom/which/*that/* we are looking is in my bag. h) The

book *who(m)/which/that/ we are looking for is in my bag.

Activity 7

Read the following and notice the literary effect caused by the phenomenon of recursiveness

(repeated embeddings of sentences that become relative clauses) in the passage; try to translate the

Romanian text using the same technique.

This is the horse that kicked the policeman, that I saw trying to clear away the crowd that had

collected to watch the fight that the short man had started.

(Iris Murdoch, The Accidental Man)


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“Guturaiul”. Cumnatul meu avea, pe linie paterna, un var primar, al carui unchi pe linie materna

avea un socru, al carui bunic pe linie paterna se-nsurase in a doua casatorie cu o tanara bastinasa, al

carei frate intalnise intr-una din calatoriile sale o fata de care se indragostise si cu care a avut un fiu,

care s-a casatorit cu o farmacista curajoasa, care nu era altceva decat nepoata unui subofiter de marina

din marina britanica si al carui tata adoptiv avea o matusa care vorbea curgator spaniola si care era,

poate, una din nepoatele unui inginer, mort de tanar, nepot la randul lui al unui proprietar de vie din

care se obtinea un vin modest, dar care avea un var de-al doilea, vasnic, plutonier, al carui fiu se

insurase cu o tanara foarte frumoasa, divortata, al carei prim sot era fiul unui patriot sincer, care s-a

priceput sa-si creasca una din fete in dorinta de a face avere si care a reusit sa se marite cu un vanator,

care-l cunoscuse pe Rothschild si al carui frate, dupa ce-si schimbase de mai multe ori meseria, s-a

casatorit si a avut o fata, al carei strabunic, pirpiriu, purta niste ochelari pe care-i primise de la un var.al

lui, cumnatul unui portughez, fiu natural al unui morar, nu prea sarac, al carui frate de lapte luase de

nevasta pe fiica unui fost medic de tara, el insusi frate de lapte cu fiul unui laptar, la randul lui fiul

natural al unui alt medic de tara, insurat de trei ori la rand, a carui a treia sotie … (Eugen Ionescu,


5.6. Pied Piping and Preposition Stranding

If you go back to our discussion in 5.2, regarding the mechanism that licenses the formation of

relative clauses, you will remember that a relative clause such as that in

(74) She was the woman [who everybody listened to]

(Ea era cea care pe care o ascultau toti.)

appeared as a result of movement:

(75) a. She was a woman. Everybody listened to that woman.

b. She was the womani whoi everybody listened to______ .

c. She was the womani whoi everybody listened to ti.

The phenomenon by means of which the relativized prepositional phrase is moved in clause

initial position but leaves its preposition behind is called Preposition stranding: the preposition has been

stranded at the end of the sentence.


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The opposite phenomenon, by means of which the whole phrase is moved up front (preposition

and all) bears the name of pied piping, where the wh-word is the pied piper that drags after it another


(76) She was the woman i to whomi everybody listened.

By extension, another case of pied piping is offered by the movement of the genitival phrase at

the beginning of the relative clause:

(77)a. This is the book. I lost the cover of the book.

b. This is the booki whosei cover I lost ti.

(Aceasta este cartea a carei coperta am pierdut-o.)

In this case the wh-word drags the constituent cover in clause initial position, acting again as a

genuine pied piper.

The difference between (76) and (77), apart from the distinct syntactical functions the

prepositional and the genitival phrase have, lies in the fact that in the case of (77) pied piping is

obligatory. We couldn’t say something like:

(78)* This is the book whose I lost cover.

Activity 8

Which of the following relative sentences can be reformulated by means of preposition


1.The first question with which Ambrose had to deal was that of the statue of victory in Rome.

2. The time at which he ate breakfast was inconvenient. 3. Thus they remained utterly obsessed with

themselves and each other, and some natural healing process of which Dorina felt she ought to know. 4.

In the interest of public decency, the safeguarding of which was actually not his task, he requested that

the public be excluded. 5. The problem of safe transportation, no easy answers to which could be

offered, has been troubling them forever. 6. She was the very woman about whom I knew absolutely

nothing. 7. This was the icepick with which one had seen her stab her husband to death. 8. She had

fully realized how much her love for Austin cut her off from other people, as if she were being

gradually cornered by a relentlessness of which he was the almost unconscious agent. 9. For the intense

anxious sense of herself with which she was suddenly invested she was quite untrained. 10. Irene, for

whom he had sacrificed his nights and days, he rarely saw now.


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Activity 9

Identify the cases of Pied Piping in the following sentences:

1.His father’s friends, whose interest he most sincerely shared, were now all gone. 2. This story,

the unravelling of which had cost her many minutes of her life, was now complete. 3. She had lying in

front of her a number of books and dictionaries most of which had been shipped from remote countries.

4. The only relatives she would have liked to put up with were her mother’s sisters. 5. His friends, no

matter which, knew nothing of what he had been subjected to.

5.7 Key Concepts

Relative Clauses can be dependent and in that case they need an antecedent in the main clause,

that is nominal phrase to which the relative clause introducer could send back. The relative clause

introducer is also called the relativized constituent and it corefers with the antecedent in the main


Dependent relative clause (so called because they are dependent on their antecedent) can further

be split into restrictive ones (that define and identify the antecedent) and non-restrictive ones (that offer

additional information about the antecedent and have an appositive value). Both these types of relative

clauses function as Attributes (appositive or not, as the case is).

Independent relative clauses are also called Free Relative Clauses because their antecedent is

missing, has been deleted. They do not function as attributes, but as subjects or objects (in fact

fulfilling almost all syntactical functions, including that of Indirect Object which only they can have).

The mechanism that lies at the basis of dependent (and independent) relative clauses is

movement, as can be seen in those particular sentences exhibiting preposition stranding or pied piping.

Activity 10 Optional Exercises

Translate the following making use of the knowledge acquired about relative clauses:


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1. De douazeci de ani, din saraca urbe provinciala unde vegetau fara speranta, capitala le

paruse un pisc inaccesibil, spre care aveau drept sa nazuiasca numai cutezatorii cu glezna tare si

plamanii largi.

2. Toate sfarseau. Ramanea un vis urat si lung de care si amintirea va fugi maine


3. Caci pentru toti patru copiii, cu toata deosebirea de varsta si fire, capitala era

necunoscutul miraculos (…) unde fiecare va afla tot ce-i pofteste inima si tot ce i-a urzit, himeric,


4. Nelu, al treilea frate in ordinea cronologica, închipuia capitala ca un fabulos garaj de

unde nu lipseste nici o marca de automobil din cele mai rarisime si ca o vasta arena sportiva, unde in

fiecare zi se dezlantuie competitia intre doua echipe (…).

5. Pentru altii, pentru dumneata bunaoara, precat am inteles din cele ce-mi vorbeai

adineauri, sunt vrednic de invidiat.

6. A venit la mine sa-mi ceara sa-i numesc un ginere director. I-am numit ginerele cum a

vrut si unde a vrut, de altfel un biat bun! – si nu stia cum sa-mi multumeasca.

7. Nu-i greu sa-si dea seama cat m-am scandalizat si ce tambalau am facut cand vazui cum

te-au lasat toti sa mucezesti intr-o asemenea puturosenie de targ.

8. Vag isi amintea ca intr-adevar (…) fusese chemat sa dezlege o intamplare tulbure si ca

in spiritul sau drept si-a sacrificat prietenul pentru adevar. Dar ce anume a fost si cum s-a terminat

povestea nu mai stia si nici n-ar fi crezut vreodata ca exista cineva care sa mai pastreze o atat de fidela

amintire. Fostul camarad îi aparu cu totul altfel de cum il socotise pana acum.

9. Esti proaspat sosit aici, nu-ti dai poate inca deplin seama de cate intrigi si de cate

presiuni uzeaza politicianismul chiar in justitie.

10. Daca le convingea vreo insusire cat de mica, speram ca aveai sa faci dumneata ceea ce

face un frate mai mare pentru unul mai mic. Imi spuneam ca nu se poate sa nu banuiesti in ce

singuratate si deznadejde se afla un om tanar intr-un oras unde totul ii e dusmanos!

11. Tot ce-ai citit dumneata inca nu inseamna nimic! Sa-ti mai adaog si concluzia ultima,

care nu figureaza nici in dezbaterile procesului, nici in searbada mea versiune, la care vad ca tot tragi

mereu cu ochii. (…) Cat golim cestile astea de cafea, ti-o rezum la cateva cuvinte.

12. Ceea ce n-a facut presedintele de tribunal din Franta, cand il invitase pe Henri Rochefort

sa ia in primire un sector electoral si sa se aleaga deputat, cu surle si cu tobe, a facut el.

(Cezar Petrescu – Calea Victoriei – slightly adapted)


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13. – De altfel chiar si idealuri de felul acesta ma straduiesc sa nu-mi mai fac pentru ca am

observat ca mi se indeplinesc si nu pot alege acum care dintre ele merge in sensul vietii mele adevarate

si care nu, inca nestiind care este adevarata mea viata.

14. Voi incerca sa-mi explic de ce la inceput mi s-a parut ca ai ochii verzi si de ce astazi,

pana mai adineauri, ochii tai au fost cenusii.

15. Avea acum un fel de vertij, din care cauza pe Dora, desi atat de aproape, o vedea ca de

la o mare distanta.

16. In spatele lor, pe strada Icoanei, tramvaiul venea cu duduit de avalansa si batai de

clopote trase furios de o perdea rosie si galbena, de fier, intre ele si strazile si casele din urma-le,

dinspre Maria Rosetti, din directia careia apoi, de unde venea si Marta, aparura, izvorande mereu insa

tare indepartate, cu sclipiri abia vizibile, roiuri de fetite.

17. – E foarte frumos ce-mi spui, zise ea cu ochii mari, pierduti intr-o directie vaga.

18. Nici nu indraznesc sa ma gandesc la banuiala care ma incearca. Dar nu vezi? Mai intai

ideea ca a ramas sarac, apoi ca trebuie sa lichideze tot si sa plece si acum ca e bolnav cand de fapt cu

totii stim ca este santos. Nu ti se pare bizar la el care pana acum a fost un barbat atat de energic,

optimist si cumpanit?

(Radu Petrescu – Matei Iliescu)




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6.1.Syntactic Properties That Characterize That Complements



6.1.3.Clause Shift

6.2.The Distribution of That Complements

6.3.That Deletion

6.4.The Sequence of the Tenses in Object That Clauses

6.5.Key Concepts

That – complements constitute the most representative class of complement clauses (see section

4). Apart from those introduced by that, complement clauses can be preceded by


(1) It is good for them to know Mathematics.

(E bine sa stie matematica.)


(2) I don’t know whether he will recover.

(Nu stiu daca se va insanatosi.)


(3) Tell me if you need anything.

(Spune-mi daca ai nevoie de ceva.)

(4) They wanted to leave immediately.

(Voiau sa plece imediat.)

6.1. Syntactic Properties That Characterize ‘That’ – Complements


Extraposition is a very frequent structure in English, being found not only in the case of that-

clauses, but also of infinitival ones. The term extraposition refers to a construction where the expletive


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(empty) pronoun it appears in front position, followed by the complement clause in peripheral position.

In other words, the clause is extraposed, placed in a marginal position.

This phenomenon is true of more than one syntactic functions, but the subject positions the

most frequently met in English:

Subject Clause


(5) That Dorothy flew from Kansas was a surprise to everybody.

(A fost o surpriza pentru toata lumea faptul ca Dorothy a plecat din Kansas.)


(6) It was a surprise to everybody that Dorothy flew from Kansas.

(A fost o surpriza pentru toata lumea faptul ca Dorothy a plecat din Kansas.)

Direct Object Clause


(7) The plumber wrongly figured out that the pipe needed replacing.

(Instalatorul a considerat in mod gresit ca teava trebuia inlocuita.)


(8) The plumber wrongly figured it out that the pipe needed replacing.

(Instalatorul a considerat in mod gresit ca teava trebuia inlocuita.)

Prepositional Object


(9) Can you swear that the accused spent the evening with you?

(Puteti jura ca acuzatul a petrecut noaptea cu dumneavoastra?)


(10) Can you swear to it that the accused spent the evening with you?

(Puteti jura ca acuzatul a petrecut noaptea cu dumneavoastra?)

Activity 1

Which of the following that clauses are extraposed ones? What is their syntactical function?


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1.It occurred to him that people were laughing behind his back. 2. Nobody knew that they were

sorry for what they had done. 3. It was known to no one that Peter had tried to take his own life. 4.The

crowd resented it that the police had been sent for. 5. Magellan regrets it that the world is round. 6. It

appears that no one voted for him. 7. It was suggested that they should meet the President. 8. It is too

bad that they always make fun of Gilian. 9. I don’t like it that he should be left alone in my flat. 10. He

will answer for it that his son is innocent. 11. You may depend on it that I will pick you up.

Activity 2

Try to undo the effect of It Extraposition in the following sentences:

1.It worried me a bit that she didn’t visit her aunt. 2. It is not quite clear whether the trains

would be running tomorrow. 3. It will be soon announced when you can leave. 4. Is it true that the

children are sick? 5. It so happens that I know the secret cipher. 6. It seems such a shame that he never

takes her out. 7. It is incredible how many good students drop out of school for lack of money. 8. It will

suit me best for you to arrive before dinner. 9. It is no use trying to convince her. 10. It will be a pity if

we have to tell her the truth before he gives us permission to. 11. You know it only too well that he will

not marry you. 12 You may take it from me that he is a stinking liar. 13. Rumour has it that U2 will

visit us this year. 14. The pebble in my shoe made it painful to walk. 15. It is nice to meet you. 16 I

found it disgraceful that she hid the truth from me 17. They considered it very silly of her to have

married Bill. 18. I find it difficult to tell her my thoughts.

Activity 3

Comment upon the grammaticality of the following sentences:

1.It bothers me that it is obvious that money means everything. 2. It amazes Bill that it bothers

me that it is obvious that money means everything. 3. It appears that it amazes Bill that it bothers me

that it is obvious that money means everything. 4. That it is obvious that money means everything

bothers me. 5.That it amazes Bill that it is obvious that money means everything bothers me.

Activity 4

Which of the following sentences are correct? Does tense influence the validity of


1.I was the one who guessed it that he would come back. 2. I guess it that he will come back. 3.

They never expected it that he would come back. 4. I don’t expect it that he will come back. 5. She was


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the woman who ordered it that all men would be executed in public. 6.Are you going to order it that all

men be executed in public?!

6.1.2. Topicalization

Topicalization is the reverse of extraposition: a subject clause which is initially placed in the

sentence is said to be topicalized.


(11) That my horse is the best in the world is absolutely evident.

(Este clar ca buna ziua ca armasarul meu este cel mai bun.)

(12) It is absolutely evident that my horse is the best in the world.

(Este clar ca buna ziua ca armasarul meu este cel mai bun.)

Extraposition is the structure that appears much more frequently in English and that is why we

consider it to be the marked case; since topicalization appears mostly when a writer/speaker wishes to

create a special effect of emphasis, we consider topicalization to be the marked case in the language.

Activity 5

Read the following, noticing the effect of topicalization within the literary passages below. Is

the phenomenon of topicalization restricted to that complements only? Does it apply to Subject Clauses

exclusively? Find counterarguments in the texts.

1. No wonder Alison had punished her and Matthew thought of her only as an instrument.

That she could still be an instrument might have comforted her once, but not now.

2. That she condemned herself in moral terms brought no consoling spring of vitality and

even guilt gave her no energy. When this is so one is in extremity indeed.

3. Whether this despair made it easier or harder to act, whether it would finally carry her

off, mere chance would decide. She had always been the slave of chance, let it kill her if it would by a

random stroke.


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4. This was another era. That he should have sat in his room and penned the letter

yesterday, even today, was inconceivable. Austin had been lost in some ancient cataclysm. He was

utterly gone.

5. His own confusion and misery were so great that he felt unable to cope with Dorina, he

felt no spring of interest in her, he almost felt resentment at seeing her now. To walk by was an

expression of his own despair.

6. Why she had originally left Valmorana she had by now forgotten.

7. To return to Valmorana seemed to her like death. To go back there now would be to

climb into her coffin.

8. That Dorina should have electrocuted herself with an electric fire on a rainy morning in

a small hotel in Bloomsbury made Ludwig feel disgust with himself and the world which was almost

mysterious in its intensity. He did not blame Gracie. He did not think that Dorina had done it on

purpose. The thing was pure chance and yet weighted with a significance of horror which he could not

bear to contemplate. That he had actually seen Dorina on the day that she died and had passed her by

was so nightmarish that he felt he would never be able to tell anybody about it.

(Iris Murdoch – An Accidental Man)

6.1.3. Clause Shift

Clause Shift is a syntactic operation that parallels that of Heavy NP Shift. A NP (Noun Phrase)

is said to be heavy when it has a large stretch of modifiers accompanying it: for instance the noun

phrases the letter or the red letter are much lighter than the noun phrase the letter which he had just


The rule of Heavy NP Shift stipulates that the heavy NP should be moved to the right and of the

sentence foe semantic reasons:


(13) He threw the letter which he had just decoded into the basket.

(A aruncat scrisoarea pe care abia o descifrase la cos.)


(14) He threw into the basket the letter which he had just decoded.

(A aruncat la cos scrisoarea pe care abia o descifrase.)

The sentence under (14) had undergone heavy NP shift by placing the long NP at the end of the

whole structure so that the sentence could be more clearly understood. This rule is in fact an


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exceptional one in that it challenges the fixed word order rules in English, according to which a verb

should not normally be separated from its obligatory complement.

Clause Shift is a similar rule to Heavy NP Shift as it allows for the clausal structure to be moved

to the right end of the sentence. This syntactic operation differs from extraposition in that there is no

pronoun left behind and that clause shift operates only on object clauses. The clausal constituent is

moved over an adverb phrase or a prepositional phrase as follows:


(15)*Mary said [that she wanted to drive] quietly.

is not semantically acceptable, because the adverb phrase quietly may erroneously refer to the

last verb phrase in the sentence (i.e. the verb to drive), clause shift operates and the resulting

grammatical structure is:

(16) Mary said quietly that she wanted to drive.

(Mary spuse linistit ca vrea sa conduca masina.)

This way the adverb can no longer have ambiguous interpretation. It is obviously linked to the

main clause verb as intended.

Let us also supply an example where the clausal structure jumps over prepositional phrase:

From the ungrammatical structure under

(17)*They wrote that the firm was going bankrupt to the lawyers.

we obtain, by means of clause shift,

(18) They wrote ti to the lawyers [that the firm was going bankrupt] i

(Le-au scris avocatilor ca firma urma sa dea faliment.)

I have used the notation ti (trace co-indexed with the ‘that’ clause) to underline the fact that the

clausal structure has been moved in a more semantically advantageous position.

Activity 6

Comment on the following sentences from the point of view of the rule of Heavy NP/Clause Shift

discussed above:

1. ? Susan burnt the letter (which) she had just written to the last page. / Susan burnt to the

last page the letter she had just written.


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2. Susan told her mother that she had just been fired. / ?Susan told that she had just been

fired to her mother.

3. He was informed on Saturday at noon that he was going to be fired. / He was informed

that he was going to be fired Saturday at noon.

4. 4. He appointed prime-minister Mr Hugh, who had just returned from Africa. /? He

appointed Mr Hugh, who had just returned from Africa, prime-minister. / He appointed Mr Hugh

prime-minister, who had just returned from Africa.

5. They dismissed s unrealistic Mr Hugh’s proposal to build a new hospital. / They

dismissed Mr Hugh’s proposal to build a new hospital as unrealistic.

6. ? I considered to be outrageous what he had done to his wife in front of so many

people. / I considered outrageous what he had done to his wife in front of so many people. / I

considered what he had done to his wife in front of so many people outrageous.

7. *I found for Susan to behave like that in public disgraceful. /*I found disgraceful for

Susan to behave like that in public./ I found it disgraceful for Susan to behave like that in public./I

found disgraceful Susan’s behaving like that in public. /I found Susan’s behaving like that in public


8. He sprinkled with water the pavement he had been cleaning. / He sprinkled the

pavement he had been cleaning with water.

6.2. The Distribuition of That Complements

That complements can acquire a whole range of syntactical functions:


(19) That her husband might be Jack the Ripper slightly annoys Mary.

(Mary e putin enervata de ideea ca sotul ei ar putea fi Jack Spintecatorul.)

Direct Object

(20) They reported that the bridge had fallen down.

(Au raportat ca podul s-a prabusit.)

Prepositional Object

(21) She was aware that her husband was lying to her.

(Era constienta de faptul ca sotul ei o minte.)


(22) She remained at home so that she would look after the kids.


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(A ramas acasa sa aiba grija de copii.)


(23) The important thing was that nobody knew about it.

(Lucrul important era ca nimeni nu stia despre asta.)


(24) The report that the bridge had fallen down was not true.

(Raportul in care se spune ca s-a prabusit podul este fals.)

Let us supply a detailed list of verbs or adjectives that require the presence of these

complements. We will begin by discussing the context where that complements appear as direct

objects, since this is the most frequent function they fulfill.

6.2.1. That Complements as Direct Object

Here is a list of classes of verbs after which that complements function as direct objects:

a) Simple transitive verbs: such as assert, afirm, consider, deem, judge, estimate, deny,

desire, predict, prefer, state, etc.:

(25)a. He announced their engagement.

(Si-a anuntat logodna.)

b. He announced that they were engaged.

(A anuntat ca sint logoditi.)

(26) I really dislike it that he is here. (Extraposed)

(Ma deranjeaza faptul ca este aici.)

(27) a. They believe that the man is guilty.

(Cred ca omul este vinovat.)

b. They believe the man is guilty. (with that-deletion)

(Cred ca omul este vinovat.)

(28) He asserted forcefully that he was innocent (with Clause Shift)

(A sustinut cu tarie ca este nevinovat.)

b) Ditransitive verbs such as: say, promise, communicate, explain, suggest, etc.

These verbs are called ditransitive because they require two obligatory complements: a direct

object and an indirect object:

(29) They promised him a new house.

(I-au promis o casa noua.)

(30) They promised him that he would received a new house.


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(I-au promis ca va primi o casa noua.)

Since the direct object that clause is heavy, it tends to appear in peripheral position by means of

several syntactic processes:

(31) I explained to Susan that I would be back very late. (Clause Shift)

(I-am explicat lui Susan ca ma voi intoarce foarte tirziu.)

(32) a. I explained it to Susan that I would be back very late.

(I-am explicaat lui Susan ca ma voi intoarce foarte tirziu.)

b. He owes it to his father that he became lawyer. (Extraposition)

(Faptul ca a devenit avocat i-l datoreaza tatalui sau.)

6.2.2. That Complements as Subjects

a) This position is filled by that complements in combination with a rather limited number

of intransitive verbs: seem, aappear, haappen, turn out, matter, come about, follow, etc. :

(33) It appeared that a life could be interesting, amusing, and ultimately trivial.

(Iris Murdoch, An Accidental Man)

(Se parea ca o viata poate fi interesanta, amuzanta, si in fine triviala.)

Some of these verbs (seem, occur, appear) may optionally be followed by an indirect object:

(34) a. It appeared to him that she was lying to him.

(I se parea ca il minte.)

b. It occurred to John that he needed a new car.

(Ii veni ideea ca John are nevoie de o masina noua.)

The most important thing to notice with this class of intransitive verbs is that only extraposed

structures are grammatical:

(42) a. It appears to me that this is a new beginning.

(Mi se pare ca acesta este un nou inceput.)

b. *That this is a new beginning appears to me.

b) adjectives (evaluative adjectives, that express a belief of the speaker):

likely, unlikely, certain, sure, etc.

clear, possible, probable, appropriate, fair, good, interesting, etc.

(36) a. It was in any case obvious that Marriage was Dorina’s lot.

(Era in orice caz clar ca i se potrivea Dorinei sa fie casatorita.)

b.It was not just that Austin was an object of interest because of the Matthew legend.

(Iris Murdoch, ibid.)


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(Nu era numai faptul ca Austin constituia un obiect de interes din cauza legendarului


Sometimes the adjective can appear alone, or without the copula:

(37) a. Odd that one should so naturally wish to lie upon one’s bed to go to sleep forever.

(Iris Murdoch, ibid.)

(Ciudat ca poti dori cu atita naturalete sa te intinzi in pat si sa adormi pe vecie.)

b. … for a few days I thought it possible that you wanted simply to nerve yourself to

break things off.

(Iris Murdoch, ibid.)

(… citeva zile am crezut ca e posibil sa iti doresti pur si simplu sa ai curajul sa distrugi totul.)

Some of these adjectives my take indirect objects:

(38) a. That he knew nothing about Poland was obvious to all his friends.

(Era clar pentru toti prietenii lui ca nu stia nimic despre Polonia.)

b. It was obvious to all his friends that he knew nothing about Poland.

(Era clar pentru toti prietenii lui ca nu stia nimic despre Polonia.)

b) Nouns – that come from the same semantic area as adjectives: problem, idea,

impediment, surprize, miracle, pity, wonder, etc.

(39) It is a wonder that you weren’t killed.

(E mare minune ca nu ai fost ucis.)

The noun can appear in isolation:

(40) a. A pity that men were so impatient.

(J. Galsworthy – Over the River)

(Pacat ca barbatii sint asa de lipsiti de rabdare.)

b. A pity men were so impatient. (that – deletion)

(J. Galsworthy – Over the River)

(Pacat ca barbatii sint asa de lipsiti de rabdare.)

d) –ing forms (verbal nouns)

41a. There was no denying that business was rotten.

(Nu exista indoiala ca afacerile mergeau prost.)

b. There was no denying business was rotten. (that-deletion)

(Iris Murdoch, ibid.)

(Nu exista indoiala ca afacerile mergeau prost.)


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e) psychological transitive verbs : alarm, amaaze, annoy, confuse, please, frighten, interest,

pain, relieve, soothe, tempt, trouble, etc.:

(42) a. It stirs me that I was thought worthy

(Ma impulsiona faptul ca ma credeau vrednic.)

b. That everybody blames him obviously depressed him.

(Faptul ca toata lumea da vina pe el il deprima evident.)

6.2.3. That Complements as Prepositional Objects

It is known that the presence of THAT normally excludes the possibility that a preposition

could appear in front of the that complement. We assume that prepositions are dropped in front of that-

clauses. We retain however the name prepositional object clause for these particular that-complements

because the basic structure it is derived from is a predicate + a preposition:

e.g. decide on something > decide that …

(63) a. She decided on coming here.

(S-a hotarit sa vina aici.)

b. She decided that she would come here.

(S-a hotarit ca va veni aici.)

In example (43) we consider that the underlined clause functions as prepositional object

required by the verb decide.

That complements appear as prepositional objects after:

a) simple intransitive prepositional verbs:

decide on, pray for, see to, admit of, ask for, brg about, rejoice at, theorize about, vote for,etc.:

(44)a. He wondered that she was still there.

(S-a mirat ca mai este acolo.)

b. They voted that the strike should go on.

(Au votat sa continue greva.)

c. You may depend upon it that he will agree with your terms. (Extraposed)

(Poti conta pe faptul ca va fi de acord cu conditiile tale.)

b) transitive prepositional verb: advise somebody of, accuse somebody of, blame

somebody for, congratulate somebody on ,etc.:

(45) He informed them that he would leave.

(I-a informat ca pleaca.)


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c) the exceptional case of the verb remind somebody of

where there is an indirect object present:

(46) They remind him that she should leave.

(I-au amintit sa plece.)

d) adjectives : afraid of, confident in, alarmed at, happy about

(47) a. I was afraid that she might not come.

(Ma temeam ca s-ar putea sa vina.)

b. I was fully aware of it that things were so bad.


(Imi dadeam perfect seama ca lucrurile stateau prost.)

6.2.4. ‘That’ complements as Predicatives

They appear in equative copulative sentences (of the type X is Y or Y is X) when the subject is

an abstract nominl such as:

fact, idea, statement, claim, reason, etc. :

(48)a The fact is that he cannot join us tomorrow.

(Fapt e ca nu poate veni cu noi miine.)

b. The second reason for my departure was that I didn’t love Bill any more.

(Al doilea motiv pentru plecarea mea era ca nu-l mai iubeam pe Bill.)

6.2.5. ‘That’ Complements as Attributes

after abstract nouns (idea, fact, etc )

after deverbal nouns (nouns derived from verb):

claim, wish, proposal, etc. :

(49) The fact that she is in debt bothers his wife immensely.

(Faptul ca are datorii o deranjeaza enorm pe nevasta-sa.)

One has to bear in mind that the examples above contain that complements, not wh-ones. We

included that-relative clauses in the larger class of wh-complements (although relative that, like now,

for instance, are not graphically wh-words). The examples here contain only that complements and this

is explained by the fact that they are required only by nouns that are either abstract, or derived from



(50) the book that I gave him

(cartea pe care i-am dat-o)


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Where that is replaceable by which (i.e. the book which I gave him),


(51) the wish that he should return the money.

(dorinta ca el sa returneze banii.)

Where in fact the that-clause can be seen as the former complement of the verb wish:

(52) She wished that he should return the money.

(Dorea ca el sa returneze banii.)

A further argument against interpreting the that-clause from (51) as a relative clause is the fact

that the introductory element cannot be replaced by which in this case:

(53)* the wish which we should return the money.

Activity 7

Which of the following are that-relative clauses and which are complement-clauses?

1.His idea that men are smarter than women led him to total ruin. 2. The idea that he had had

earned him good money. 3. His order that all the men in the village should be killed was instantly

disobeyed. 4. The order that he had given was instantly disobeyed. 5. Their proposal that he should run

for Congress was the best ever. 5. The proposal that they came up with was no better than hers.

6.2.6. ‘That’ complements as Adverbials

Adverbial that clauses can be divided into two classes according to what pattern of

subordination they observe:

a)the prepositionl phrase model – where prepositional phrases are used to introduce that-

adverbial clauses: for fear that, on the ground that, in order that, to the end that, in the hope that, in/with

the intent that, on purpose that, in event that, on condition that, with a view that, etc.:

(53) a. They dislike her on the ground that she is too proud.

(O antipatizeaza pe motiv ca e prea mindra.)

b. They paid her a large salary in the hope that she would stay with them.

(I-au dat un salariu mare in speranta ca va ramine la ei.)


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In example (54) the Conjunctive phrases introducing it are formed by means of a prepositional

phrase and that. The noun within the prepositional phrase indicates the meaning, the interpretation of

the adverbial clause:

ground => reason, hope =>purpose.

The nouns in these constructions tend to become grammaticalized (i.e. they lose their meaning,

become abstract) and that is why they may lose their ability to take determiners and adjectives: we say,

for example, on condition that, not *on the condition that exactly because the noun is losing its

autonomous meaning and is becoming more and more part of the conjunctive phrase.

In older stages of English, prepositions were allowed in front of that-clauses, but nowadays

there are very few examples of this kind left:

(54) Before that man came I saw you. (this example is a sample of archaic language, similar

to the construction existent in Romanian:

(55) Te-am vazut inainte ca el sa vina.)

(56) I like him in that he is smart. (this is one of the few examples still used in contemporary


(Imi place de el pentru ca e destept.)

A similar situation is exhibited in:

(57) a. … now that Charlote had insinuated herself into the flat there was nowhere to bring

Dorina …

(Iris Murdoch, ibid.)

(…acum ca Charalote se insinuase in apartament nu mai avea unde sa o aduca pe Dorina…)

b. She has everything save that she lacks intelligence.

(Nu-i lipseste nimic cu exceptia faptului ca nu e inteligenta.)

c) adverbial subordination – by means of that conjunction phrases where there are no

prepositional phrases available:

Result: so +adverb/adjective … that – in this structure the degree word (so,such) is crucial for

the grammaticality of the sentence in question:

(58) He is so competent a teacher that every student loves him.

(Este un profesor atit de competent incit toti studentii il iubesc.)

(59) *He is a competent teacher that every student loves him.

(60) He is such a nice man that women instantly fall for him.

(Este un om asa de dragut ca femeile se indragostesc imediat de el.)


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(61) *He is a nice man that women instantly fall for him.

That can be deleted, as is shown in the following:

(62) He placed his chair by the window so he would see her pass.

(Si-a pus scaunul linga fereastra, sa o vada trecind.)

When the structure contains the word such, the noun following it is deletable:

(63) a. His answer was such an answer that we couldn’t doubt its wisdom.

(Astfel suna raspunsul lui incit nu ne puteam indoi de intelepciunea sa.)

b. His answer was such that we couldn’t doubt its wisdom.

(Astfel suna raspunsul lui incit nu ne puteam indoi de intelepciunea sa.)

On some occasion SUCH can optionally move:

(64) a. He gave such an answer that we couldn’t doubt it.

(I-a dat un asemenea raspuns ca nu ne-am putut indoi de el.)

b. He gave an answer such, that we wouldn’t doubt it.

(I-a dat un asemenea raspuns incit sa nu ne putem indoi de el.)

(65) a. He gave such an answer as had expected.

(I-a dat genul de raspuns pe care il astepta.)

b. He gave an answer such that I had expected.

(I-a dat un raspuns pe care il astepta.)

Activity 8

Comment on the distribution and syntactic function of the that complements in the following


1.We discovered that our map has disappeared. 2) Was it true that she was ill? 3) They are not

aware that they are in a dangerous position. 4) The idea that men from Mars were landing was absurd.

6) John made it clear that he disagreed. 7) The truth is that we haven’t met them. 8) I am afraid that I

have to go now. 9) It struck me that the bus was behaving pretty strangely. 10) She was so careless that

she left the door unlocked. 11) The suggestion was that they should leave at once. 12) He loved her to

such an extent that he could give his life for her. 13) The shock of having been found by Dorina in

Mitzi’s arms first prostrated him with such a sense of uncleanness and shame that he could not face his


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wife. (Iris Murdoch, ibid.) 14) It had also produced the certainty that they belonged together and that,

for better or worse, they were chained to each other forever. (Iris Murdoch, ibid.)

6.3. ‘That Deletion

6.3.1. When Can We Delete ‘That’?

- It is impossible to delete that in unextraposed clauses:

(66) That he will ever come back is a question still.

(Inca ne intrebam daca se va mai intoarce.)

(67) * he will ever come back is a question still.

- That – deletion is more acceptable if the verb/adjective/noun requiring the complement

clause is a frequently used item or if it is frequent in combination with that-clauses.

(68) a. He showed he was able to do it.

(A dovedit ca poate sa faca asta.)

b. He got word they were coming.

(A prins de veste ca ei vin.)

c. He said he had borrowed her money.

(A spus ca a imprumutat bani de la ea.)

The ommision of that is an indication that the speaker does not want to be formal, that he uses a

relaxed tone.

If the verb in question is a not so ordinary one, omission of that is impossible:

(69) *He objected it was already too late to leave.

6.3.2. When is ‘That’ Obligatory?

- That can be deleted if it follows the main verb/adj./noun directly, but it is usually

required if the complement clause is separated from the main verb by intervening material:

(70) It had also produced the certainty that they belonged together and that, for better or

worse, they were chained to each other forever. (Iris Murdoch, ibid.)

(De asemenea, condusese la certitudinea ca trebuiau sa fie impreuna si ca, bune, rele, erau legati

pe veci unul de celalalt.)

(71) *It had also produced the certainty that they belonged together and, for better or worse,

they were chained to each other forever.


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In example (71) we interpret the last clause as being coordinated with the main clause not with

the first that clause, because that has been deleted.

- ‘That’ deletion is blocked if an object clause has been extraposed:

(72) a. I like it that he was here.

(Imi place ca e aici.)

b. *I like it he was here.

6.3.3. When is ‘That’ Deletion Obligatory?

That deletion is absolutely obligatory if the subject of the complement clause is questioned or


You say

(73) Who did you say was coming?

(Cine spui ca a venit?)

But never

(74) *Who did you say that was coming?

This is explainable by the fact that who is the subject of the that clause. The presence of that can

lead to a double subject construction, which is ungrammatical.

Activity 9

Delete ‘that’ where possible:

1)I didn’t get the message that they were coming. 2) They chortled that it was only a joke. 3)

That such things still happen is no wonder. 4) I hate it that you won’t be with me. 5) Where would you

guess that he went? (Compare to: *Who did they imagine that wanted to go?) 6) The fact that they were

unprepared leaked out. 7) They maintain, you want me to believe, that they were not too late to leave.

8) I reminded them that they had to leave.

6.4. The Sequence of the Tenses in Object That Clauses

The tenses in complement clauses are oriented towards the tenses of the main clause, thus

showing the temporal relation (anteriority, sumultaneity, posteriority) holding between the actions of

the main and the subordinate clause. The changes in the embedded clause are as follows:


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Present ----- Past

(75) a) “She is there”, he said.

(“Este acolo”, spuse el.)

b)He told me that she was there.

(Mi-a spus ca ea este acolo.)

Past ]

Present Perfect ] Past Perfect

Past Perfect ]

(76) a. “She was here”, he said.

(“Era acolo”, spuse el.)

b. He told me that she had been there.

(Mi-a spus ca a fost acolo.)

Future ------- Future in the Past

(77) a. I will leave her.

(Am sa o parasesc.)

b. He said he would leave her.

(A spus ca o sa o paraseasca.)

Future Perfect ------Future Perfect in the Past

(78) a. He will have arrived by the time she leaves.

(Pina pleaca vine el.)

b. He said he would have arrived by the time she left.

(A spus ca o sa vina el pina pleaca ea.)

Let us discuss those particular cases when these rules are optional:

1. The Present – Past rule can be optional with the so-called FACTIVE verbs (that is verbs

that presuppose the truth of their complement).

For instance, when you say.

(79) I realize that he is a genius.

(Imi dau seama ca este un geniu.)

the complement clause is interpreted as true. And that is demonstrated by the fact that even if

we negate the main clause, the truth value of the complement clause remains the same:


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(80) I don’t realize that he is a genius (that means still that he is a genius, only I don’t realize


With such verbs as realize, forget, mention, regret, discover, show, notice, be

amazed/concerned, say, report, etc. the rule of the sequence of tenses Present --- Past is optional:

(81) a. Bill reported that coconuts grew high upon trees.

(Bill a anuntat ca nucile de cocos stau foarte sus in copac.)

b. Bill reported that coconuts grow high upon trees.

(Bill a anuntat ca nucile de cocos stau foarte sus in copac.)

On the other hand, there is a whole range on verbs that require that the rule should be observed:

Know, be aware, think, believe, dream, wish, hope, insist, whisper,etc.

(82) It seemed/was likely/possible/unfortunate that the new leader of the group was/*is an

undercover agent.

(Parea / era probabil/ posibil/ neplacut ca noul conducator al grupului era agent secret.)

If we consider this rule outside the domain of that complements, we notice that general truths,

expressed by the Generic Present are normally preserved in the present even if they can be found right

in the middle of a narration:

(83) It was and was not like the first day of the honeymoon when the newly maarried pair, in

tender deference to each other, feign habits which are not their own. (Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince)

(Era si nu era ca in prima zi a lunii de miere cind perechea proaspat casatorita, cu un respect

tandru unul fata de altul, simuleaza obiceiuri care nu le apartin.)

The Past Tense imposes itself when the action expressed by it is relevant to some point in the

past, with which the speaker does not wish to identify himself:

(84) a. She still believed that the earth was flat.

(Ea tot mai credea ca pamintul este plat.)

b. She believed that the earth is round.

(Ea tot mai credea ca pamintul este rotund.)

In (84) a The Past is used to show that the speaker does not agree with what the character ‘she’

considers to be a general truth.

Consider also:

(85) a. She realized that all men are fools.

(Si-a dat seama ca toti barbatii sint niste prosti.)


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b. He knew that she thought all men were fools.

(Stia ca ea crede ca toti barbatii sint niste prosti.)

In (85b) ‘he’ disagrees with her opinion and that is why Past Tense is used.

2.) The rule Past ----- Past Perfect is sometimes disregarded in certain complements which

contain a non-durative, simple Past Tense (that) cannot be seen as simultaneous with the verb in the

main clause:

(86) a. She suspected that Bill had left before the police arrived.

(Ea banuia ca Bill plecase inainte sa soseasca politia.)

b. She suspected that Bill left before the police arrived.

(Ea banuia ca Bill a plecat inainte sa soseasca politia.)

Both sentences are grammatical and the presence of the adverbial clause before the police

arrived contributes to the optional character of the rule, since it indicates that the event of Bill’s leaving

is anterior to the arrival of the police.

Compare this example to

(87) She suspected that Bill had been there.

(Banuia ca Bill fusese pe acolo.)

where the durative character of the verb be makes it impossible for the rule to be broken:

(88) She suspected the Bill was here.

(Banuia ca Bill este acolo.)

in this case the meaning of the sentence is changed.

(87) shows the anteriority of Bill’s being there whereas (88) shows that the two events suspect

and be there are simultaneous.

3.Future – Future in the Past – this rule is rarely optional. There are however cases, such as

(89) a. Peter said that John would leave at 5.

(Peter a spus ca John o sa plece la 5.)

b. Peter said that John will leave at 5.

(Peter a spus ca John o sa plece la 5.)


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In (89b) the sequence of the tenses is not observed because for us it isn’t yet 5 o’clock. Imagine,

for instance, that you are uttering this sentence in front of your friend. The time is 3 o’clock. Of course

in this case you will use the future not the Future in the Past.

Activity 10

Comment on the auxiliary in the complement clause:

1. a) John heard that Mary is pregnant. b) John heard that Mary was pregnant. c) John said

that Harry is leaving. d) John said that Harry was leaving. John said that Harry will leave. f) John said

that Harry would leave. g) John thought that Harry ran. h) John thought that Harry had run.

2. a) John said that Harry was leaving tomorrow. b) John thought that Montreal played

Boston tomorrow. c) *Harry was leaving tomorrow. d) *Montreal played Boston tomorrow. e) Harry is

leaving tomorrow. f) Montreal plays Boston tomorrow.

3. a) It was obvious that everyone would leave if coffee was not provided at the meeting

next day. b) It was objected that people had left the meeting the day before because coffee had not been


4. a) She thought that Maggie arrived the day before b) She thought that Maggie had

arrived the day before.

5. I knew that poor Chris believed he was of royal blood.

6. a) John said that his car *has run out of gas. / b) John said that his car is out of gas.

7. Look the dipstick shows oil right up to the full mark. But John mumbled that his car

was/*is out of oil.

8. John indicated to Mary that she should go to bed early.

9. a. John told Mary that she should bake a pie. b. *John told Mary that she had baked a

pie. c) John told Mary that she had baked an excellent pie.

6.5 Key Concepts

That complements differ from that relatives in that they appear as required by a verb, adjective

or a deverbal noun.

The most important syntactic properties they have are extraposition (by means of which the

clause is placed at the end of the sentence and announced by the pronoun it), topicalization (the reverse

of extraposition and means of emphasis) and clause shift (syntactic operation of placing the clause at


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the end of the sentence when the main clause contains, adverbial or prepositional phrases related to the

main clause verb). These syntactic operations are shared by that-clauses with other complement

clauses (such as TO-infinitives or wh-complements).

That-complements can hold any sort of syntactical function, from the ordinary subject, object

ones up to the attributive function, which they share with wh-complements.

On certain occasions that can be deleted, on other occasions it has to stay there, or else.

That object clauses normally observe the rules of the sequence of the tenses with a few

(significant) exceptions.

Activity 11 Optional Exercises

Translate the following by making use of the information on that-complements supplied in this


1. Cand m-a vazut a inchis albumul, a sarit de pe banca si a alergat spre mine. Dar cand a

ajuns in fata mea mi-am dat seama ca nu-i pot spune vestea cea mare. Cum iti explici aceasta? M-am

sfiit. Stiam ca orice cuvinte as alege acelea n-ar fi putut cuprinde tot ce voiam sa-i spun si nici fericirea

ca venise clipa sa-i anunt ce-aveam de anuntat.

2. Mama, peste putin, s-a dus acasa si eu am ramas singur sa termin desenul. Regretam ca

m-a lasat singur. Caci presimteam ca mi se va intampla ceva neplacut. Cand au vazut ca mama a plecat,

baietii s-au adunat in jurul bancii mele. Isi tineau mainile in buzunare. Unul din ei, cel mai mare, cred

ca avea vreo saptesprezece-otsprezece ani, avea albeata la un ochi si purta un tricou albastru de

marinar. Parul rar ii era plin de matreata.

3. Il privi uimita si cu toate ca din cauza intunericului nu-i vedea chipul distingea totusi ca

tremura si nu stiu daca sa rada ca pentru a-i face o asemenea declaratie o desteptase in puterea noptii,

ori sa se teama de turbarea lui, care il impinsese la un asemenea gest bizar, neconvenabil si primejdios.

Totusi sfarsi prin a se simti bine la ideea ca da atat pret parerilor sale si incerca dorinta tandra de a-l

linisti, de a-i arata ca ia prea mult in seama niste rautati fara consecinta. Uita ora si situatia scandaloasa.

4. – Totusi trebuie sa stii, spuse domnul Albu la urechea lui Matei, ca nu se vorbeste atat

de mult cu sora Angelei. Fiind de o idiotie celebra, s-ar putea interpreta ca ti-ai cautat langa ea un



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5. Se temu ca marturisirea pe care i-o facuse el pornea din orgoliu si regreta

susceptibilitatea lui. Totusi era curios ca el se gandise ca, invinuindu-se de lucruri atat de neplacute, va

fi mai interesant pentru ea.

6. Abia prinse de veste cand ea il parasi si nu se intreba de ce venise, daca va mai veni.

Simplul fapt ca ea fusese acolo il stapanea ca o betie. Se mira, fericit, de ce constata in sine. Toate

simturile i se ascutisera, capatase deodata puterea de a vedea consistent, luminos si apropiat si cand,

venind de la avocat, ea, care il pandise, ii strecura in mana un bilet in care citi ca, cel putin pentru un

timp, trebuie sa nu se mai vaada pentru a nu cadea amandoi pra ada unei iluzii vulgare ce i-ar putea

costa nespus de mult si ca, stiind ca el nu ar izbuti sa se opreasca de a o cauta, va pleca din oras la vie,

pentru o sedere mai indelungata care le va face bine amaandurora, nu intelese nici de data asta decat ca

ea i-a scris, ca tine in mana o hartie care fusese in mana ei si peste care se aplecase gandindu-se la el.

7. Lui Matei i se paru ca mama stie mai multe despre motivele plecarii Dorei la vie insa ii

fu cu neputinta sa o intrebe ce stie anume.

8. Ultima data cand ne-am vazut aci m-ai speriat pretinzand ca nu ai nici o ambitie pentru

viitor. Stii ca nu-i deloc frumos pentru un tanar ca tine sa nu fie ambitios, sa nu aibaa un ideal? Cred ca

nu mi-ai spus adevarul.

9. Nu ti-a trecut, asa, niciodata prin minte ca trebuie sa ajungi un Pasteur sau un Alexandru

cel Mare, un vis de acesta nebunesc si inflacarat pentru realizarea caruia sa-ti dedici toata viata?

10. (…) Matei socoti ca e mai intelept sa bata in retragere.(Radu Petrescu – Matei Iliescu)



7.1.What Are Infinitive Complements

7.2.A Classification of Infinitives

7.3.The Distribution of PRO-TO Constructions

7.4.The Distribution of FOR-TO Constructions

7.5.Syntactic Functions of PRO-TO and For-TO Constructions

7.6.Verbs of Obligatory Control

7.7.The Distribution of the Nominative + Infinitive Construction

7.8.The Distribution of the Accusative + Infinitive Construction

7.9.Key Concepts


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7.1. What Are Infinitive Complements

Infinitive complements can be integrated into:

1. complement clauses (if we consider them from a structural point of view – see section 4

for further details). From this perspective, infinitive complements are part of the same class as that-


(1) a. I told her that she should be more careful in the future.

(I-am spus sa fie mai atenta pe viitor).

b. I told her to be more careful in the future.

(I-am spus sa fie mai atenta pe viitor)

One can easily notice the similarities existing between the two constructions, and the relatively

synonymous dimension the two structures have.

Other data that can be interpreted as arguments for this view (that infinitive and that

complements share a lot of similar features) are the following:

like that complements, infinitive ones can be extraposed:

(2) a. It is important that you should know what you need.

(E important sa stii ce iti trebuie.)

b. It is important for you to know what you need.

(E important sa stii ce iti trebuie.)

like that complements, infinitive ones can be topicalized:

(3) a. That you love her is something wonderful.

(E minunat ca o iubesti.)

b. To love her is something really wonderful.

(A o iubi pe ea este ceva de-a dreptul minunat).

like that complements, infinitive ones can be subject to the rule of clause shift:

(4) a. She wished with all her heart that every man in the universe should stay away from


(Isi dorea din tot sufletul ca toti barbatii de pe lume sa stea departe de ea.)

b. She wished with all her heart to be left alone by every man in the universe.

(Isi dorea din tot sufletul sa fie lasata in pace de toti barbatii de pe pamint)

c. * She wished that every man in the universe should stay away from her with all her


d. * She wished to be left alone by every man in the universe with all her heart.


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2. non-finite mood structures (if we look at what kind of mood the verb inside the

construction has)

From this point of view, we distinguish between:

finite moods (such as the Indicative, the Conditional, the Subjunctive) (in Romanian we

call these moods moduri personale)

non-finite moods (such as the Infinitive, the Gerund, the Participle) (i.e. moduri


By convention, English grammar analyses non-finite structures as clauses, that can hold a

syntactical function within the complex sentence (so, when one provides the syntactical analysis of a

complex sentence, they will distinguish between infinitival clauses, gerundial clauses, participial


The main characteristic exhibited by non-finite structures, as opposed to the finite ones, is the

fact that they do not have temporal features. For instance, the phrase to go there or going there does

not express an event that is anchored in a certain time. The speaker cannot tell for sure when these

events of going there happened.

The only features these constructions still have are the aspectual features and that is why one

can notice that the Infinitive has four tenses:

present : to leave

perfect: to have left

continuous or progressive : to be leaving

perfect continuous or perfect progressive: to have been leaving

Here are a few examples with these forms:

(5) a. To have succumbed to such base passions was a shame indeed.

(Era rusinos ca s-a lasat prada unor pasiuni atit de josnice.)

b. They are known to be doing all sorts of vile things.

(Se stie ca se indeletnicesc cu tot felul de lucruri urite.)

c. He knew her to have been knitting a sweater for a year.

(Stia ca croseteaza o flanea de un an de zile)


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Due to this lack of temporal features, the infinitive construction is often subjectless (because

normally the subject needs the Nominative case and the infinitive cannot assign it since there are no

temporal and personal features. If the verb form has no temporal and personal features, that is no

ending, it cannot be in agreement with the subject and cannot assign it the Nominative case.)

Activity 1

Look at the following sentences and comment upon a) the tense of the infinitive b) the

grammaticality of the sentence:

1.She needed a stick with which she to beat up the old man. 2. It was an awful thing to be sitting

there abandoned. 3. It is nice she to have a dog as a friend. 4. It was nice for her to have a dog as a

friend. 5. To be looking at her for hours seems his favourite pastime. 6. She reminded him to pick up

the flowers for Susan’s birthday. 7. He to be looking at her for hours seems his favourite pastime. 8.

Everybody knew him to have been working as a plumber for more than twenty years. 9. It is vital for

our factory to be reopened. 10. It is vital this factory to be reopened.

7.2 A Classification of Infinitives

There are three criteria we shall employ in this classification:

1. the criterion of form, according to which there are

long or full infinitive forms:

(6) They told her to leave.

short or bare infinitive forms:

(7) They saw her leave.

The verbs that normally require the bare infinitive are:

The modal verbs: he can come any time

Make : he made her smile

Let: he let her go

Help (optionally): he helped her climb the stairs

Have (with the meaning to cause somebody to do something): he had her clear the table

Perception verbs such as see, hear,watch: they watched him cry


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An important thing to remember here is that by passivization, the bare infinitive becomes a full


(8) She was made to go there.

(A fost fortata sa se duca acolo.)

The only verb that does not follow this rule is let:

(9) The grass was let grow.

(Iarba era / a fost lasata sa creasca.)

Activity 2

Translate the following sentences:

M-au pus sa-l duc pe Tom la scoala. / Eram deseori lasat sa plec de acasa. / Au vazut-o ca

pleaca. / I-a ajutat sa ridice pachetul acela greu. / L-a observat cum maninca un pachet intreg de

ciocolata. / A fost obligat sa il trimita pe Tom pe front. / A pus-o pe Maria sa isi faca curat in camera. /

A obligat-o pe Maria sa isi faca curat in dormitor. / L-au auzit cum a cintat doua cintece patriotice.

2. according to whether an adverb appears between to and the infinitive, we can distinguish


unsplit infinitive

(10) She likes to look at the painting often.

(Ii place sa se uite adesea la tablou.)

Split infinitive (or the “Star Trek” infinitive)

(11) She likes to often look at the painting.

(12) Captain Picard wanted Starship Enterprise to boldly go and explore the universe.

For a long period English grammarians considered the Split Infinitive to be a not very elegant

construction, uncharacteristic for literary English. However, this structure is more and more frequent in

every-day language and is no longer considered so inelegant. However, it is still typical of relaxed


Activity 3

Translate the following, trying to use the Split Infinitive:

Vrea sa fie intr-adevar recunoscuta pe plan mondial. / A plecat in strainatate ca sa invete mai

bine metodele moderne de educatie. / A fi in mod stupid tentat sa iti vinzi locuinta pe un pret de nimic


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este exact lucrul de care ne temem cu totii. / Ceea ce s-a intimplat I-a fortat sa devina pe data constienti

de problemele existente. / Nu vreau sa te mai vad niciodata./ Pentru a intelege pe deplin ce scrie in

carte, trebuie sa te concentrezi un pic mai mult.

3. the third criterion of classification refers to the way in which the logical subject of the

infinitive is treated (I underlined the phrase logical subject, because, as I have already mentioned, we

cannot speak about a syntactical subject inside the infinitive, since its lack of temporal features

precludes the assignment of the Nominative case – see previous subsection.)

From this point of view we can distinguish between:

Infinitives where the logical subject is not lexically overt:

(13) Harry tried __ to leave.

We place a gap between the main clause verb and the infinitive to show that the agent of the

action expressed by the infinitive is not expressed. By convention we can name the missing logical

subject PRO, that is something that stands for an item missing:

(14) Harry tried PRO to leave.

Further on, we can co-index the subject Harry with the PRO form, so as to show that it is in

fact Harry that performs the action expressed by the infinitive:

(15) Harryi tried PROi to leave.

In other words, to use the appropriate technical term, we say that the subject Harry controls the

logical covert subject for which we have used the notation PRO: Harry is the controller of PRO.

Since we have used the notation PRO for the logical unexpressed subject of the infinitive, we

call this class of infinitival clauses the PRO-TO constructions, or the control constructions.

Infinitives where the logical subject is lexically expressed in the form of a prepositional

phrase introduced by the preposition FOR. That is why this class of infinitival constructions is called

the FOR – TO infinitives:

(16) It is important for him to come back home.

(E important ca el sa se intoarca acasa.)

In this situation, the logical subject, namely the agent of the event, gets its case from the

preposition for and can appear in the clause.


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So far, we have mentioned the control construction and the for-TO construction. What is it that

they have in common?

a) the fact that they are not required by a certain class of verbs in the main clause

b) both of them can hold practically the same syntactical function:


(17) a. PRO to err is human, PRO to forgive divine.

(E omeneste sa gresesti, si crestineste sa ierti.)

b. It is important for him not to err.

(E important ca el sa nu greseasca.)


(18) a. He tried PRO to persuade her of his innocence.

(A incercat sa o convinga ca este nevinovat.)

b. I hoped for him to be there in time.

(Am sperat ca el sa vina la timp.)


(19) a. He bought a new house PRO to please his nagging wife.

( A cumparat o casa noua ca sa o multumeasca pe cicalitoarea lui nevasta.)

b. He stepped aside for her to enter.

(S-a dat la o parte ca sa ii faca loc sa intre.)

The Accusative + Infinitive construction , where the logical subject of the infinitive is in

the Accusative and required by the main clause verb wherefrom it gets its case:

(20) I believe him to be a good linguist.

(Cred ca este un lingvist competent.)

The interesting thing with this class of infinitives and in fact the reason why they are so called is

that the direct object of the main clause verb is in reality the logical subject of the infinitive. In other

words, the pronoun him gets the Accusative from the verb believe but it is the agent of the verb phrase

to be a good linguist.

We must distinguish between such examples as that under (20) and the following one:

(21) I persuaded him to be a better linguist.

(L-am convins sa fie un lingvist mai bun.)

What is the difference between two examples that look so similar? The distinction lies in the

fact that in (21), him is not the agent of the infinitive, but the patient of the verb persuade.


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Semantically, him is related to the main clause verb, not to the infinitive. The second example is not an

accusative + infinitive structure, but a PRO-TO one:

(22) I persuaded himi PROi to be a better linguist.

Also consider the following examples:

(23) I want animals to be tortured.

(Vreau ca animalele sa fie chinuite)

(24) I hate animals to be tortured.

(Nu suport ca animalele sa fie chinuite.)

A good test by means of which you can decide which of these examples is an accusative +

infinitive construction and which is a PRO-TO one is that of inference: for instance, from example (20)

you cannot infer the sentence I believe him, whereas example (22) implies I persuaded him. This fact

indicates that in the first case him was rightfully part of the infinitival construction, but in the second

case it belonged with the main clause verb persuade. Likewise, from (23) you hopefully cannot infer I

want animals, nor can you infer from (24) that you hate animals. This means that both (23) and (24) are

accusative + infinitive structures, since the direct object animals does not semantically belong with the

main clause verbs, but with the infinitive in the subordinate.

Activity 4

Distinguish between the following infinitive structures. Which are accusative + infinitive ones

and which are control constructions?

I would like people to visit me every day. \ She wanted him to leave. \ She promised him to

leave. \ They tempted him to leave. \ I would love them to come. \ I allowed them to come. \ He

persuaded her to come. \ They convinced her to come back. \ They would have hated her to come back.

\ They really asked her to come back. \ They did not wish her to come back.

Last but not least, there is the Nominative + Infinitive construction, so called because

the syntactical subject in the main clause is in fact the logical subject of the infinitive. Since this item

cannot get case from the infinitive it goes back to get the Nominative from the main clause verb:

(25) He appears to be a good linguist.

(Pare sa fie un lingvist bun.)

(26) He seems to be a good linguist.


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(Pare sa fie un lingvist bun.)

In examples (25) and (26), the subject is not the agent of the main clause verb, hence you

cannot infer something like: he appears or he seems. But it is clear that he is a good linguist .This

means that the subject he is in fact related to the infinitive verb not to the indicative one.

Compare these examples to:

(27) I managed to get a good job.

(Am reusit sa obtin o slujba buna.)

where the subject I is the agent of the main clause verb, and you can infer I managed something.

So, this example contains a PRO – TO infinitive:

(28) Ii managed PROi to get a good job.

What is it that these last two classes of infinitive structures have in common?

a) First, it is the fact that both of them borrow items from the main clause to round up their


b) Second, both of these constructions appear only with certain main clause verbs, with special

semantic and syntactic properties. In that they differ from the first two classes discussed above, which

are said to be free, that is not required by certain verbs. The last two structures are said to be lexically

governed because they are required by special verbs (such as want, seem, hate, appear, etc.).

To sum up the discussion, here is a diagram:

Infinitive complements - free: - control constructions

- for –to constructions

- lexically governed: - accusative + infinitive

- nominative + infinitive

Activity 5

Translate the following sentences, bearing in mind that there are different classes of infinitival


Se pare ca a jefuit toate bancile din vecinatate. / Se stie ca a incercat sa se sinucida. / Se crede

ca a sedus-o pe fata milionarului care sta linga noi. / Asasinul necunoscut se pare ca a mai comis o

crima la etajul 6. / Era important ca el sa asculte toata marturia ei. / E de dorit sa vina si sa recunoasca


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faptul ca sint vinovati. / Nu-i prea tirziu sa invete. /I-am invatat sa vorbeasca corect si sa scrie fara

greseli./ Se presupune ca o cunoaste de un car de ani. / N-am stiut niciodata sa ma port cum trebuie in

fata ei. / Vreau sa-ti spun ce cred despre tine. / Vreau sa pleci din casa mea. / E greu sa il suporti./ S-a

intimplat sa fie prin apropiere, asa ca am invitat-o sa bea o cafea.

7.3. The Distribution of PRO - TO Constructions

In this subsection we discuss which are the most likely contexts in which these structures


a) verbs that imply the idea of responsibility and control: attempt, fail, try, manage, agree

to, aspire to, seek (= try), endeavour, contrive, refuse, decline, condescend, deign, presume, venture,

arrange, omit, scheme, care to, etc.

(28) Hei sought PROi to find out the truth about Freddie Mercury’s death.

(A cautat sa afle adevarul despre conditiile in care a murit Freddie Mercury.)

b) verbs such as abide, bear, afford, deserve, need, scorn, etc.:

(29) Ii cannot abide PROi to see such cruelty.

(Nu pot suporta sa vad asemenea cruzime.)

c) verbs of liking and disliking: choose, desire, expect, like, dislike, intend, mean, hate,

prefer, propose, want, wish, hope, etc.:

(30) Shei wanted PROi to become a famous opera singer.

(Dorea sa ajunga o cintareata de opera renumita.)

Some of these verbs accept an accusative + infinitive variant as well. Compare:

(31) a. Shei expected PROi to receive an expensive gift from her boy-friend.

(Se astepta sa primeasca un cadou scump din partea prietenului ei.)

b. She expected her boyfriend to give her an expensive present.

(Se astepta ca prietenul ei sa-i faca un cadou costisitor.)

Some of these verbs also allow a FOR-TO construction or a that clause:

(32) a. I would like for him to become president of the country.

(Mi-ar placea sa ajunga presedintele tarii.)

b. I hate that you should say a thing like this.

(Imi pare rau sa aud asa ceva.)


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d) verbs of mental state and linguistic communication: remember, forget, ask, conclude,

claim, threaten, suggest,etc.

Most of these verbs allow alternative that constructions:

(33) a. I remembered that I had to go to the post office.

(Mi-am amintit ca trebuie sa ma duc la posta.)

b. Ii remembered PROi to go to the post office.

(Mi-am amintit sa ma duc la posta.)

7.4. The Distribution of FOR – TO Constructions

These structures normally appear in combination with intransitive verbs or adjectives: arrange,

endeavour, verbs of liking and disliking, bear, stand, be important, possible, desirable, etc. The

complement clause is usually extraposed:

(34) a. For all of them to have been killed is, however, unlikely.

(Ca ei toti sa fie omoriti este putin probabil.)

b. It is however unlikely for all of them to have been killed.

(Este putin probabil ca ei toti sa fie omoriti.)

The logical subject of the FOR-TO construction can be also represented by the expletive there

subject as well:

(35) It is impossible for there to be a war between your country and mine.

(E imposibil sa existe un razboi intre tara mea si a ta.)

7.5. Syntactic Functions of PRO-TO and FOR-TO Constructions

1. Subject Clauses

In this category we can mention the less frequent cases, where PRO is co-indexed with a

nominal in the main clause:

(36) It was nice of youi PROi to allow me to come here.

(A fost amabil din partea ta sa-mi dai voie sa vin aici.)

The more frequent situation is when PRO is interpreted generically:

(37) PRO to love one’s parents so deeply is a natural thing.

( Este un lucru natural sa-ti iubesti parintii atit de mult.)

The generic interpretation of PRO is also supported by the presence of the generic pronoun one

within the infinitive.

The most frequently met subject FOR-TO infinitives are those extraposed:


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(38) It was important for them to be there.

(Era important ca ei sa fie acolo.)

2. Predicative Clauses

(39) a. The tendency was for the instructions to be more detailed.

(Exista tendinta ca instructiunile sa fie mai detailate.)

b. Ouri task is PROi to investigate the details of this case.

(Sarcina noastra este sa investigam detaliile legate de acest caz.)

3. Direct Objects

(39) a. I meant for him to be alone with her tonight.

(Am vrut ca el sa ramina singur cu ea in seara asta.)

b. Ii would love PROi to listen to this concert.

(Mi-ar placea foarte mult sa ascult acest concert.)

4. Prepositional Objects

They appear after verbs or adjectives which normally select Prepositional complements. Like in

the case of that complements, the preposition is deleted, but the meaning remains; this is why we call

these objects prepositional objects:

(40) a. I decided for John to represent us.

(Am hotarit sa ne reprezinte John.)

b. Ii am curious PROi to see whether they will come on time.

(Sint curios sa vad daca vor sosi la timp.)

5. Attribute

This situation happens with:

a) relative infinitive constructions

(40) They bought her a book with which PROi to step on the path of knowledge.

(I-au cumparat o carte cu ajutorul careia sa paseasca pe drumul cunoasterii.)

b) complement constructions (after abstract nouns derived from verbs or adjectives)

(41) Myi attempt PROi to escape her was a failure.

(Incercarea mea de a scapa de ea s-a soldat cu un esec.)


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The distinction between relative infinitives and complement infinitives is similar with the one

we made between relative clauses and complement clauses in a previous section.

6. Adverbial

Here we can notice several different cases:

a) when the infinitive functions as a restrictive modifier

- the infinitive is viewed as an adverbial, not as an object because adjectives such as

pretty, delicious, bastard do not normally require a prepositional object after them like in the case of

adjectives like aware of, curious about,etc.:

(42) a. She is pretty to look at.

(Este o fata care iti bucura ochii.)

b. The stew is delicious to eat.

(Tocana e foarte buna la gust.)

c. He is a bastard to work for.

(Este un sef care te pune la munca din zori pina in seara.)

d. You’re an idiot to go there.

(Esti un prost daca te duci acolo.)

e. This paint is like concrete to work with.

(Vopseaua asta este tare ca betonul.)

b) adverbial of purpose (the most common function met with adverbial infinitives)

(43) Ii slapped him PROi in order to calm him down.

(I-am tras o palma ca sa il calmez.)

c) adverbial of result

(44) The plate was too hot to touch.

(Farfuria era prea fierbinte ca sa poata fi atinsa.)

(45) Will you be so kind as to give me the plate?

(Esti asa dragut sa imi dai farfuria?)

d) exclamatory, final or introductory infinitive

In this case, the infinitive is an independent clause:

(46) To be perfectly frank , you’re a bad driver. (introductory)

(Sa-ti spun drept, conduci prost.)

(47) I’ve never met him, to tell you the truth. (final)

(Nu-l cunosc, drept sa spun.)


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(48) Oh, to be young again! (exclamative)

(Ehei, sa fii iarasi tinar!)

Activity 6

Translate the following sentences, trying to use the PRO-TO or FOR-TO infinitives with the

syntactical functions discussed above:

Oh, cind te gindesti ca pe vremuri stia sa cinte asa de frumos la vioara! / Iarba era prea uda ca sa

stai pe ea./ Este indicat ca persoanele fara pasaport sa se prezinte la politie. / E destul de bogata sa-si

permita o blana si o masina noua. / Ehei, sa mai fii tinar si sa te poti bucura din plin de viata…/ Si-a

cumparat bilet din timp, sa nu piarda trenul. / E intr-atit de lipsita de inima incit e capabila sa nu ii mai

dea banii pentru apartament. / Nu-i chiar atit de batrin incit sa nu o ia de la capat. / Pe sleau, nu mai am

nevoie de tine si nici de serviciile tale. / Ca sa nu mai lungim vorba, nu mai vreau sa te vad. / S-a intors

din calatorie doar ca sa dea de nevasta-sa intr-o pozitie compromitatoare. / Am o vorba sa iti spun. / E o

persoana cu care poti comunica usor. / Nu-i greu sa locuiesti cu el. / Tu esti de vina ca a explodat


7.6. Verbs of Obligatory Control

By verbs of obligatory control we mean those classes of verbs that demand that only a certain

nominal inside the main clause should be co-indexed with PRO, that is with the covert logical subject

of the infinitive. According to this, we can distinguish between:

a) verbs of subject control (where the subject in the main clause must control PRO) – the

most frequent case in fact: attempt, promise, swear,etc.

(49) a. Hei attempted PROi to murder his wife.

(A incercat sa isi ucida sotia.)

b. Hei promised her PROi to give her a new ring.

(I-a promis sa ii dea cadou un inel.)

The fact that only the subject he is allowed to control (hence be co-indexed with) PRO is

reinforced by the

impossibility of interpreting PRO as controlled by the indirect object her:

(50) * He promised heri PROi to watch a new show.


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b) verbs of direct object control (where the direct object of the main clause verb must

control PRO) – here mostly verbs of causation are included: authorize, direct, enable, encourage,

induce, influence, oblige, need, inspire, press, urge, inform, etc.:

(51) a. He forced the prisoneri PROi to kneel down in front of him.

(L-a obligat pe prizonier sa ingenuncheze in fata lui.)

b. His curses inspired the boyi PROi to utter foul words himself.

(Injuraturile lui i-au dat ideea baiatului sa vorbeasca si el urit.)

In this category of verbs one can also mention a small class including: appoint, elect, choose,

nominate, name, vote, etc.:

(52) She elected her husbandi PROi to run the hospital.

(L-a ales pe sotul ei in conducerea spitalului.)

c) verbs of prepositional object control (where the prepositional object inside the main

clause must control PRO): rely on, count on, prevail on, depend on, look to, etc.

(53) You may rely on mei PROi to help you.

(Te poti baza pe ajutorul meu.)

d) verbs of indirect object control (where the indirect object in the main clause must

control PRO): tell, order, command, allow, permit,etc.:

(53) He told the maidi PROi to announce her.

(I-a spus servitoarei sa o anunte.)

(54) I leave it to youi PROi to take care of it.

(Las lucrurile in grija ta.)

Activity 7

Identify the predicates requesting infinitival constructions; which of them are expressed by

verbs of obligatory control?

I presume you do not want to figure in my life merely as a pest. / I do not intend to tell him that

myself. / I have no wish to uproot ourselves at our age and no inclination to return to a part of the world

which has for us only the unhappiest of associations. / … and when you have done so there is little

doubt but that they will advise you to your own country at once./ I hope to call on you and your


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husband a day or two after the funeral./ And now he refuses to see me and has written me a disgusting

missive. (Iris Murdoch, An Accidental Man)

7.7. The Distribution of the Nominative + Infinitive Construction

As previously mentioned, this construction is lexically governed, i.e. it normally appears after

certain verbs with special semantic properties:

a) A- verbs: appear, seem, happen, etc.:

(55) She appears to like him.

(Se pare ca ii place de el.)

b) inchoative verbs (or change of state verbs): get, grow, come,etc.

(56) She grew to like him in the end.

(In cele din urma ajunse sa-l simpatizeze.)

c) constructions including the verb be: be to, be about to, be going to, etc.

(57) He is to come any day now.

(Trebuie sa soseasca zilele astea.)

With be going to there are two interpretations:

The Nominative + Infinitive one:

(58) I am going to be late / faint.

(O sa intirzii/ lesin.)

Control construction

(59) Ii am going PROi to meet her at 5.

(Ma intilnesc cu ea la 5).

The meaning of (58), that of intention is well supported by the syntactical analysis, that

presupposes the fact that PRO is controlled by the subject of the main clause. In (57), the subject

cannot control the action in any way (since we cannot speak about the intention of the subject to be late

or faint), hence there is no control situation whatsoever.

d) modal expressions such as have to or ought to:

(60) Hei has PROi to tell her the truth.

(Trebuie sa-i spuna adevarul.)

e) verbs of mental perception in the passive: be said, be thought, be rumoured, be claimed,

be considered, be alleged, be reported, etc.:

(61) He was rumoured to have murdered his wife.


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(Se zvonea ca isi omorise sotia.)

7.8.The Distribution of the Accusative + Infinitive Construction

This construction normally appears in combination with:

a) verbs of physical perception

basic ones that require bare infinitival structures: see, hear, feel, watch, overhear,etc.:

(62) They heard him insult her.

(L-au auzit insultind-o.)

neological verbs that require full infinitival structures: notice, observe, perceive,etc.:

(63) I perceived him to be known in his neighbourhood.

(Am observat ca era cunoscut in cartier.)

An interesting property of physical perception verbs is that they can make up both the

Nominative + Infinitive structure and the Accusative + Infinitive one. However, there is a clear

difference in meaning between the two possibilities:


(64) They heard Freddie Mercury sing last night. (Accusative +Infinitive)

(this is probably because he sings as a rule)


(65) Freddie Mercury was heard to sing last night. (Nominative + Infinitive)

(this was an exceptional occurrence, since he does not normally sing in public)

b) causative verbs:

with a bare infinitive: make, have, let

(66) I’ll have you learn this in no time.

(Te fac sa inveti asta cit ai zice peste.)

with a full infinitive: get, cause, occasion, necessitate

(67) I couldn’t get them to pay me my money.

(N-am reusit sa-i fac sa-mi dea banii.)

c) verbs of mental perception : assume, believe, consider, understand, figure, picture, find,

imagine, remember, recollect, judge, deem, presume, know, discover, prove,etc.:

(68) I believe him to be a genius.

(Cred ca este un geniu.)

d) verbs of permission and command: allow, permit, suffer, order, command, etc.:

(69) I allowed the trees in the yard to be cut down.


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(Am permis sa fie taiati pomii din curte.)

These verbs have the special characteristic that can be combined with PRO-TO constructions as


(70) I allowed the gardeneri PROi to cut down the trees.

(I-am permis gradinarului sa taie pomii.)

e) verbs of liking and disliking: like, love, prefer, want, wish, desire, expect, mean,


(71) I would like him to be there at 5.

(As vrea sa fie acolo la ora 5.)

Like in the case of the previous class of verbs, these ones allow PRO-TO constructions as well:

(72) Ii would like PROi to go there.

(As vrea sa ma duc acolo.)

Activity 8

Identify the infinitive structures in the following texts; state their type and function:

a) Harold persuaded Alec to let him drive them home. The drinks hadn’t cheered him up;

they had depressed and fuddled him. Harold, who wasn’t used to men with moods, thought that the best

and kindest policy was to ignore Alec’s. if he himself was out of spirits, he hated anyone to comment

on it. It was a measure of self-protection dating from his schooldays, when a long face was a sign of

weakness and the whole pack would turn on him if they saw him looking sad. A cheerful countenance

was the first line of defence. Most of Harold’s men friends felt the same, and if they had seen one of

their number looking quite suicidal, would never have dreamt of asking him the reason.

b) During the visit Harold’s own outlook had undergone a good many changes. It was

natural to him to feel critical of another environment than his own. He suspected hostility at once; the

herd instinct was very strong in him. In so far as he was a snob his snobbery only operated within his

own social group; he didn’t envy those above it, though he tended to look down on those below it. Both

seemed to him a little unreal, and as if they didn’t know what life was about. And this was especially

the case with Alec and his wife’s outfit, for Alec belonged to no group or social stratum, he appeared to

have the freedom of several but to be indigenous to none. (L.P.Hartley – A Perfect Woman)


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7.9. Key Concepts

The analysis of infinitival structures is built upon a few criteria of classification: from this point

of view, we can speak about bare and full infinitives, about split and unsplit ones and about infinitives

with no expressed logical subject or with an expressed logical subject.

The last criterion, having to do with the presence of a logical subject inside the infinitive, is

connected to the fact that infinitive constructions can have no syntactical subject within them. This

happens because the infinitive mood exhibits no temporal features and is limited to aspectual features


From this perspective, we can speak about free constructions (required by no special semantic

class of verbs): the PRO-TO and the FOR-TO constructions. We can equally speak about lexically

governed infinitive constructions (which appear after special verbs with semantic particularities): the

Nominative + Infinitive and the Accusative + Infinitive constructions. Their characteristic lies in the

fact that both of them resort to main clause verbs to assign case to their logical subjects. The logical test

of inference offers the modality of checking whether a structure belongs to this class or not.

Activity 9 Optional Exercises

Translate the following texts, making use of the information on infinitival clauses supplied in

this section:

a) Bietei mame i se rupea inima cind se gindea ca peste o luna are sa-i ramiie casa pustie;

dar cind avem nevoie sa mingiiem pe altii, pare ca uitam propria noastra durere.

b) E greu de calculat efectele unui principiu.

c) Calatoriile cu liftul, spre deosebire de acelea cu trenul ori cu avionul, sing mult prea

scurte ca sa te infioare cu gindul unei predestinari.

d) De ce-o fi el atit de trist? Cu ce ar putea fi ajutat, sa nu mai arate atit de sumbru? Exista

cineva care sa nu se simta singur? Orice om are momente cind ii vine sa se spinzure, fireste, dar trebuie

sa ai o fre cu totul aparte ca sa ti se intimple asta tocmai cind cinta corul acesta.

e) Cind doi oameni, un barbat si o femeie, stau zile intregi intre zidurile inghetate si tot ce

le ramine de facut e sa ciocane rar si prudent in peretele ce-i desparte, ce reusesc ei sa-si spuna astfel

precum si circumstantele in care comunica nu seamana, de buna seama, cu una din discutiile acelea

foarte agreabile ce au loc in cazul unei atingeri de fire, bunaoara, sau cu ocazia unui numar format

gresit. E posibil, intr-o zi, ca omul din spatele zidului sa fie schingiuit, dar sa nu-ti spuna. Si tu sa fii, de

asemenea, lovit si umilit. (Tudor Octavian – Zid intre un barbat si o femeie)


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f) E important timpul care trece, e important ce intrebari pui, daca vrei ca povestea sa

aiba un sens, sa-l capete, mai bine-zis, daca vrei ca toate aceste obscure si candide neadevaruri, pe care

le cladesti cu teama si infiorare, cu sila si rusinea de a fi nevoit s-o faci, - sa se intoarca la tine cu

fiecare sunet, mai pline de inteles, mai verosimile decit insasi evidenta. Sa spui de pilda, ca esti tinar. Si

sa incepi sa crezi ca esti tinar. (Tudor Octavian – Zid intre un barbat si o femeie)

g) Nu stia ce sa mai faca s-o opreasca din plins.

h) – Vreau sa mergem! Raspunde apasat d-na Moroi. Vreau fiindca vreau… trebuie sa

intelegi odata ca nu pot trai ca o pustnica. Ne-au invitat oamenii… si e superiorul dumitale. Ai dori sa

te privesc ca p-o icoana, sa traiesc numai cu tusea cu junghiurile si palpitatiile dumitale?

(B.St.Delavrancea, Nuvele)

i) Ideea d-a nu nu misca ne obosea si capul incepea sa ne tremure. Locul unde fundul testii

se injuga cu sira spinarii ne durea. De era vara, naduseala incepea sa ne curga pe obraji si pe dupa

urechi, in jos, d-a lungul gitului. Cu neputinta ca cei mai slabi sa nu miste o mina, un picior; sau,

gidilati de siroaiele de naduseala, sa nu vrea sa se stearga. (B.St.Delavrancea – Nuvele)

j) Paul Achim nu era copt, inca, sa-si aduca aminte nu numai de doctorul Stroescu, asa

cum ii aparuse el, in ploaie, ci si de conversatia lor din acea noapte, pe care deja o uitase.

Desi discutia merita sa fie tinuta minte. Insa Paul Achim traise, in parte, mai bine de doua

decenii, ca sa nu si-o aminteasca, nici macar in acele puncte unde, in parte, avusese dreptate. Dar era

mult mai comod sa-si uite dreptatea, care exista prin opozitie fata de lucruri pe care fiecare om aproape

le trece in tacere, in conversatiile sale cu el insusi.

Nu putuse sa-l lase in strada pe doctorul Stroescu, desi, de fapt, ar fi vrut sa fie lasat in pace, in

acea clipa de aleasa fericire cind era la inceputul unei iubiri, fie ea si grabita. (Al.Ivasiuc – lluminari)

k) Cu zestrea asta, caut un sot caruia sa ma darui si caruia sa-i fiu supusa; deopotriva cu

juramintul de

a-mi schimba felul de viata, i-as aduce acestui barbat o grija cum nu s-a mai vazut, de a-i fi pe

plac si de a-l sluji. Ma laud singura, pentru ca nu incape rusine in privinta aceasta cind te sileste nevoia.

Intr-un cuvint, vreau sa spun ca eu caut un sot care sa ma apere, sa-mi porunceasca si sa ma respecte, si

nu un amant, care sa ma serveasca si sa ma injure. Daca domnia-ta accepti ceea ce-ti pot darui, sint aici

cu tot ce am, gata sa maa supun oricarei porunci, fara sa ma pun in vinzare (pentru ca asta inseamna sa

te dai pe mina mijlocitoarelor), caci nimeni nu se pricepe sa mijloceasca mai bine decit partile insele.

(Proza picaresca)


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8.1.The Participle

8.1.1.Participial Constructions

8.1.2.Characteristics of Participial Constructions

8.2.The Gerund

8.2.1.A Classification of Gerundial Forms

8.2.2.Characteristics of Gerunds

8.2.3.Differences between Participles and Gerunds

8.3.The Verbal Noun

8.4.ING Forms and Infinitives

8.5.Key Concepts

The last section of this course concerns itself with the remaining non-finite forms: Participial

and Gerundial structures. The characteristic these forms share with the infinitival ones is the fact that

they have no temporal features. Like in the case of infinitival constructions they exhibit aspectual

features and cannot assign case to their logical subject.

One of the problems always present when discussing the Participle and the Gerund is the fact

that both of these moods have the same ending: -ing. This makes it sometimes difficult for us to

differentiate between them. Due to this situation, we shall have to point out the specific features of each

construction. Let us start with the Participle:

8.1. The Participle

The first distinction to be made here is that between present participle and past participle.

These are the tenses of this mood and they differ in point of ending: the present participle ends in –ing

and makes the object of our discussion. The past participle ends in –en (or -ed) and will be marginally

tackled in this section. Let us now see the main contexts where we can identify participial forms:

8.1.1. Participial Constructions

- The main context in which the present participle appears is when it is part of a

continuous tense form:

(1) Susan is sleeping.

(Susan doarme.)


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In (1) the ing form that appears within the Present Continuous VP (verb phrase) is a present


This fact is also true of past participle forms and perfect or passive verb phrases:

(2) a. Susan has come.

(A venit Susan)

b. Susan has been killed.

In (2) the forms come, been and killed are past participle forms.

- A context where the present participle frequently appears is when it is combined with a

noun phrase and has a modifying function, i.e. it functions attributively. Here we have two situations:

a) when it appears before the noun in question:

(3) The running man is my boss.

(Omul care alearga este seful meu.)

b) when it appears after the noun in question:

(4) The man running on the track is my boss.

(Omul care alearga pe pista este seful meu.)

As you can see in this second case, the participle may be accompanied by additional

complements (on the track).

This situation is also characteristic for past participles, especially when they are placed in front

of the nominal and appear in compounds:

(5) His clean-shaved face was shining in the moonlight.

(Fata lui bine barbierita stralucea in lumina lunii.)

More infrequently, the past participle can appear after a noun, too:

(6) Her eye-lids, blood-shot and painted, were closing.

(I se inchideau ochii, cu pleoape injectate si fardate.)

- The participle can also frequently appear as an adverbial and here we can notice two


a) when it has no expressed logical subject

(7) a. Arriving here, they started singing. (adverbial of time)

(Sosind aici, incepura sa cinte.)

b. Knowing who the guy was, she ran away. (adverbial of reason)

(Stiind cine era el, ea o lua la fuga.)


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c. When singing, people should pay attention to high notes. (adverbial of time + time


(Atunci cind cinta, oamenii trebuie sa fie atenti la notele inalte.)

d. If provoked, a lion can attack. (adverbial of condition + conditional conjunction)

(Daca este provocat, leul poate sa atace.)

b) when it has an expressed logical subject : the Absolute Participle

(8) a. God willing, I will arrive there on time. (adverbial of condition)

(Cu voia lui Dumnezeu, o sa ajung la timp.)

b. Weather permitting, I will arrive there on time. (adverbial of condition)

(Daca vremea imi permite, o sa ajung la timp.)

The logical subjects in (8) are God and weather, respectively. This construction is called the

Absolute Participle after the model of Latin where there is the Absolute Ablative – an elliptical

construction made up of nouns and non-finite forms in the Ablative, which stands for an adverbial


- The participle may also appear in the so-called independent participial constructions:

a) Nominative + Present / Past Participle

(9) a. He was found stealing.

(L-au descoperit ca fura.)

b. He was found killed by a bullet.

(L-au gasit ucis de un glonte.)

b) Accusative + Present / Past Participle

(10) a. I found him stealing.

(L-am descoperit furind.)

b. They found him killed by a bullet.

(L-au gasit ucis de un glonte.)

Let us make up a list of verbs and adjectives that require the presence of the independent

participial constructions:

a) Verbs requiring Nominative and Accusative + Present Participle

Verbs of physical perception: see, hear, smell, watch, behold, notice, perceive

(11) I felt her trembling.

(Am simtit-o tremurind.)


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(12) He was noticed crying.

(A fost vazut plingind.)

Causative verbs: get, have, set, start, keep, send, leave,etc

(13) a. I’ll have you all speaking fluent English soon.

(O sa va fac sa vorbiti toti curind o engleza buna.)

b. He’ll soon get things going.

(O sa puna repede lucrurile in miscare.)

c. He was sent rolling by the heavy blow.

(Lovitura l-a trimis invirtindu-se.)

mental perception verbs: remember, recollect, find, etc.:

(14) Imagine him saying a thing like that.

(Inchipuieste-ti-l spunind una ca asta.)

b) Verbs requiring Nominative and Accusative + Past Participle

Verbs of physical perception: see, hear, feel, etc.:

(15) a. I heard it said that men are a bore.

(Am auzit spunindu-se ca barbatii sint plicticosi.)

b. He was seen covered in mud from head to toe.

(L-au vazut acoperit de noroi din cap pina in picioare.)

verbs of mental perception: imagine, confess, know, recollect,etc.:

(16) When she heard his words, she knew herself dismissed.

(Cind i-a auzit cuvintele si-a dat seama ca a concediat-o.)

Causative verbs: get , have, make

(17) a. I must get my hair cut.

(Trebuie sa ma duc sa ma tund.)

b. You must get get that leg of yours taken care of.

(Trebuie sa te duci la doctor sa iti ingrijesti piciorul.)

verbs of permission, command

(18) I ordered my bill made out.

(I-am spus chelnerului sa-mi aduca nota.)

Verbs of liking and disliking

(19) a. Men like shopping made easy.

(Barbatilor le place sa termine repede cu cumparaturile.)


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b. He wanted his car fixed immediately.

(Dorea sa-i fie reparata masina imediat.)

Activity 1

Translate the following sentences into English, using the types of participial structures

discussed above:

Am sa pun sa fii arestat daca ma mai deranjezi mult. / Nu dupa multa vreme, il vraji in asa hal

incit ii minca din palma. / L-au descoperit aruncat intr-un colt./ Sa pofteasca in fata elevii care

vorbesc. / Cel care tocmai vorbeste cu Maria este fratele meu./ Lovitura l-a lasat lat sub masa. / Nu-l

mai tine sa astepte./ Jim a pornit motorul in doi timpi si trei miscari./ S-a dus sa-si extraga o masea. /

Vreti sa va dam unghiile cu lac? / “Si de unde ai gasit un sifonier atit de incapator?” “L-am facut de

comanda.” / De ce ai uitat robinetul deschis? / O sa pun casa la punct rapid./ L-a trimis la cumparaturi.

8.1.2. Characteristics of Participial Forms

The main property participles have – in opposition to gerundial forms – is the verbal quality of

these structures. Unlike the gerund, the participle has no nominal properties whatsoever. We shall

enlarge upon this point in the section on gerunds.

A second differentiating feature is the frequency with which the participle appears as a modifier

or as an adverbial. The only contexts in which the participle functions as an object is when it is part of

the independent participial constructions (i.e. Nominative or Accusative + Participle).

The participle lacks tense but exhibits:

aspectual features:

(20) Having seen this, I left.

(Vazind acestea, am plecat.)

Voice (can appear in the passive)

(21) Having been noticed by the teacher, I left.

(Dupa ce m-a remarcat profesorul, am plecat.)

A nominative subject (in absolute participial constructions)

(22) God willing, the rain will stop.

(Cu voia lui Dumnezeu, se va opri si ploaia.)


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A conjunction to precede it optionally

(23) Although not knowing the language, she enjoyed her trip to Spain.

(Desi nu stia limba, a avut parte de o excursie placuta in Spania.)

Activity 2

Join each of the following pairs of sentences, using either a present participle, or a past


1.She didn’t want to hear the story again. She had heard it all before. 2. I turned on the light. I

was astonished at what I saw. 3. I have looked through the fashion magazine. I realize that my clothes

are hopelessly out of date. 4. In this chapter the characters have an unintelligible conversation. They are

lying face downwards in a sea of mud. 5. The tree had fallen across the road. It had been uprooted by

the gale. 6. People were sleeping in the next room. They were wakened by the sound of breaking glass.

7. I knew that the murderer was still at large. I was extremely reluctant to open the door. 8. Mother

punished me for my mistake. I slammed the door of my room. 9. He fed the dog. He sat down to his

own dinner. 10. They found the treasure. They began quarreling about how to divide it.

Activity 3

The following sentences contain misrelated participles. Read the sentences and try to correct

them. How do you account for the term misrelated?

1.Running into the room, a rug caught her foot and she fell. 2. Riding in the first race, his horse

fell at the last jump. 3. Knowing me to be the fool of the family, the news that I had won a scholarship

astonished him. 4. Reading in bed, my hands often get very cold. 5. Leaving the cinema, it seemed to

him that the film had been exceptionally bad. 6. Climbing down the tree, one of the eggs broke. 7.

Barking furiously, I let the dog out of the room. 8. Getting out of bed, a scorpion bit him. 9. Sitting in

the dentist’s chair, an idea suddenly occurred to me. 10. Dropped by parachute, the country seemed

entirely unfamiliar. 11. Tied to the post, the sea was tossing the post up and down. 12. Passing under a

ladder, a pot of paint fell on my head.

Activity 4

Match a word in list (a) with a word in list (b) to form a compound word:

a) fair, broad, red (twice), bald, three, many, cloth, stony, narrow, open, fishy, empty, lion,

sharp, wooden, quick, dark, eagle, straight, open.


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b) Headed (5 times), haired (twice), eyed (3 times),shoulder, hearted (twice), cornered,

coloured, covered, minded (3 times), skinned, handed.

Activity 5

Same instructions as before:

a) molten, drunken, lighted, mown, roast, shaven, stricken, sunken, shorn, hidden,

shrunken, bounden, ill-gotten, rotten, graven.

b) Grass, candle, meat, deer, man, lead, eyes, head, meaning, stream, lamb, plank, image,

duty, wealth.

Activity 6

In the following pairs of sentences, the same verb is missing twice, once used as a present

participle and once as a past participle. Insert the correct form in each gap:

1.Books ________ out of the library must be returned within three weeks. / People ______

books oout which haven’t been stamped will be banned. (take) 2. The film, _______ by S.Spielberg, is

expected to be a great hit./ Power stations _______ enough energy to supply several towns are soon to

be built on the south coast. (produce) 3. Crops _______ under glass mature more quickly than those in

the open. / Farmers ________ such crops can therefore catch the early markets. (grow) 4. I stared at the

canvas for ages, ________ the artist’s skill and eye for detail. / Swiss watches, _______ for their

elegance and precision, are sold throughout the world. (admire) 5. The escaped prisoner, ________

hiding in a barn, was today taken back to prison. / Many old people ,_______that their savings have

been eaten into by inflation, are having difficulties in making both ends meet. ( find) 6.I fell on the ice,

_______ my arm. / Three people, _____ when their car crashed on the M1, were taken to hospital.

(injure). 7. Whales, _______ for their valuable oil and meat, are in grave danger of extinction. /

Thousands of people went shopping in the sales today, _______ for a bargain. (hunt).

Activity 7 (Optional exercise)

Translate into English:

1. Toate liniile ei erau pline si rotunde: bucla de pe frunte si de pe linga urechile

descoprite; umerii abia ascunsi sub o dantela; sinii chinuiti in strinsori; soldurile plesnind sub un corsaj

ascutit care le taia, lasindu-le sa joace libere si ghicite sub largile falduri. O umbreluta, cind strinsa,


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cind deschisa, plina si ea de ape si valuri, arunca pe fata si fiinta femeii umbre si culori ce miscau si

inviau neincetat toate liniile.

2. Desi clipa ii era tulburata mai adinc, o placere nelamurita a trecut iute prin Bubi. S-a

simtit alaturi de tatal sau si el stapin la curtea lor, si inca recunoscut de femeia pe care o dorea.

3. Se simti deodata incoltit de un necunoscut pe care il uitase si care venea inspre el din

toate partile. Inaltimea de entuziasm unde stat o clipa se ineca in apa mare si tulbure de sovaieli. Si,

desclestindu-si bratele de pe umerii batrinului, incepu sa priveasca nelinistit primprejur, ca si cum,

deodata sufocat, ar fi cautat aer si un liman.

4. Statea in jurul ei tot ce avea sa fie o masa imbelsugata: carnea rosie, impanata cu vine

galbene de grasime, pestii cu solzi sariti sub cutit, legume date prin mai multe ape, pasari taiate,

aruncate in ligheane si risipind un abur gretos de pene oparite, precum si foile de placinta, intinse, si

moi, cu praf de fainaa usoara si lipicioasa pe ele, toate trecind prin miinile pricepute ale coanei Mita,

care le rinduia, le fierbea, le cocea.

(Ion Marin Sadoveanu – Sfirsit de veac in Bucuresti)

8.2. The Gerund

8.2.1. A Classification of Gerundial Forms

We classify gerunds, function of the presence or absence of a logical subject within the

gerundial structure. According to this criterion, one can distinguish between:

a) gerunds without an expressed logical subject:

(24) PRO seeing is PRO believing.

(Daca vezi, crezi.)

b) gerunds with an expressed logical subject:

This class of gerunds can be further split into two subclasses:

the full gerund (or the possessive ING)

(25) John’s coming here was a mistake.

(Venirea lui John aici a fost o greseala.)

the half gerund (or the Accusative ING)

(26) It all depends on him coming here.

(Totul depinde de venirea lui aici.)


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We call the first subclass of b) possessive ING because of the genitive form in which the logical

subject appears. Likewise, the second subclass bears the name Accusative + ING due to the case of the

logical subject within the gerund.

If there are two possibilities with class b) it means that there must be some differences between

them. The main difference lies in the fact that the accusative + ing is more like a clause whereas the

possessive ing looks more like a nominal.

How do we know that?

By looking at the way these constructions agree with the main clause verbs when


The possessive ing in a compound subject agrees with the verb in the plural, just as it happens

with any normal compound subject made up of two nominal phrases:

(27) a. His winning and your losing were both surprising.

(M-a surprins faptul ca el a cistigat si tu ai pierdut.)

b. His victory and your defeat were both surprising.

(M-au surprins in egala masura victoria lui si infringerea ta.)

Coordinated accusative + ing requires a singular verb, just as it happens with coordinated

Subject that clauses:

(28) a. Him winning and you losing was surprising.

(M-a surprins faptul ca el a cistigat si tu ai pierdut.)

b. That he won and you lost was surprising.

(M-a surprins faptul ca el a cistigat si tu ai pierdut.)

8.2.2. Characteristics of Gerunds

In the previous subsection on participles I was saying that participles have [+ verbal]

features, whereas gerunds have [ + verbal ] and [ + nominal ] features. In that, gerunds differ from


Participles look more like clauses and more often than not are translated by means of a clause:

(29) I saw him smiling and was surprised.

(L-am vazut ca zimbeste si am fost surprins.)

Gerunds look more like noun phrases and are often translatable by means of a noun phrase:

(30) His slapping Susan terrified the audience.

(Faptul ca a palmuit-o pe Susan a ingrozit publicul.)


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An important characteristic of gerunds is that they do not normally extrapose:

(31) a. It was illegal to grow a beard.

(Nu era legal sa-ti lasi barba.)

b. *It was illegal growing a beard.

In (31) extraposition is possible with infinitives but not with gerunds. (31 b) is ungrammatical

because we get a double subject construction. This behaviour of gerunds concerning extraposition

resembles that of relative clauses which are themselves very similar in behaviour to noun phrases:

(32) *It was illegal what she said.

Again we are faced with an ungrammatical double subject construction.

There are very few exceptions to this situation, and they normally happen with idiomatic


(33) a. It’s no use crying over spilt milk. (proverb)

(Mortul de la groapa nu se mai intoarce.)

b. It’s no good talking to her.

(N-are sens sa vorbesti cu ea.)

gerunds can be combined with Prepositions:

(34) a. She was surprised at his knowing the business so well.

(Era uimita de cit de bine stia el dedesubturile afacerii.)

b. He looked at their wrestling on the muddy floor.

(S-a uitat cum se lupta pe podeaua innoroiata.)

8.2.3. After discussing the characteristics of gerunds, it would be very useful for us to

have a look at differences between participles and gerunds:

1. Participles can appear in tense forms: Gerunds do not make up tense


continuous , perfect, passive ones

She was crying.

2. Participles may be preceded by conjunctions: Gerunds may be preceded by


While sleeping, babies suck their thumb. She waited for his coming home.


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3. Participles may function as adverbials: Gerunds do not function as

adverbials with

Coming here, he built himself a house. few exceptions:

(adverbial of time) She angered him by stealing his project.

4. Participles do not function as objects Gerunds function as direct and


unless they appear in dependent constructions objects:

I saw her crying. (Accusative + Participle) She started crying. (direct

object clause)

She was interested in him marrying her.

(prepositional object clause)

5. Participles may function as attributes and are Gerunds may function as

attributes but are

paraphrasable by who/that/which is…Verb + ing: paraphrasable by means of the



the walking man = the man who is walking the walking stick = stick used for


the flying fish = the fish which is flying the flying saucer = saucer used for


Activity 8

Translate into English, remembering that the gerund is always used of a preposition, a

prepositional verb or a phrasal verb:

Nu este nici o speranta sa se gaseasca supravietuitori dupa prabusirea avionului. / Te-ai scuzat

pentru ca l-ai deranjat? / Am renuntat sa joc / la jocul de fotbal cind am terminat scoala. / Te-ai saturat

probabil sa faci acelasi lucru zi de zi. / John a fost sever mustrat pentru ca “teroriza” baietii mai mici

decit el. / Publicul a fost avertizat de pericolul de a se plimba prin parc noaptea. / Nu-l intereseaza

deloc sa-si creasca copiii. / Se pare ca-ti place foarte mult sa subliniezi defectele altora. / Minerii sint

intotdeauna avertizati sa nu duca chibrituri in mine. / Cine raspunde de incuiatul usilor si paza cladirii


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noaptea? / Ar trebui sa te gindesti sa economisesti bani in loc sa speri ca vei cistiga la carti. / Raspunsul

la problema locuintelor pare sa rezide in construirea de noi blocuri. / Nu vedeau nici un motiv pentru c

ei sa nu faca asa cum planuisera initial. / Doctorul m-a sfatuit sa renunt la fumat si grasimi. / A trebuit

sa aminam plecarea in vacanta. / Compania aceea este specializata in fabricarea mobilei de birou. / Ar

trebui sa se impuna tuturor si sa se abtina de la a fuma in restaurante si alte locuri publice. / Trebuie sa-

mi cer scuze ca am intirziat asa de mult. / Judecatorul a fost acuzat de a nu fi dat juriului obiective

clare. / Se mindreste ca e totdeauna bine imbracat. / I-am spus sa nu-si bata capul sa puna lucrurile la

loc. / A trebuit sa suportam mojicia tot timpul calatoriei. / Am cerut sfatul unui avocat inainte de a ne

decide sa actionam in justitie. / Dupa ce a hartuit-o bine pe vinzatoare, a plecat din magazin fara sa

cumpere nimic. / In ciuda faptului ca a trebuit sa lupte cu o mare agitata, inotatoarea a reusit sa

traverseze canalul in timp record.

Activity 10

Identify the gerundial and participial constructions and state their function:

1. A stranger sharing the trip with us was bad enough. 2. He smiled to hear her talking in that

way. 3. Gambling is his favourite pastime. 4. It was worth trying to continue the efforts. 5. What I don’t

understand is you suddenly turning against me. 6. The only reason for selling was the owner’s getting a

new car. 7. He said he favoured people having decent haircuts. 8. I can excuse his being rude to me but

I cannot forgive his being rude to my mother. 9. He admitted driving the lorry recklessly. 10. They

were interested in a true vote being expressed by the people. 11. The house is accustomed to reports

being presented orally. 12. The ceremony ended with his having to receive a trophy. 12. He was spotted

talking to her. 13. I was afraid that my answer might lead to him being charged for the offence. 14.

She’s looking forward to having lots of children. 15. The idea of him/his going to Paris appalled her.

Activity 11

Discriminate between gerunds and participles by means of paraphrase:

Chewing cow/ chewing gum; shooting gallery / shooting star; boiling water is a job I hate / I

need some boiling water; crying game / crying woman; swimming duck / swimming trunks; pressing

needs/ pressing people to answer questions; eating habits/ eating people; paying guests / paying guests

to leave is wrong.

8.3. The Verbal Noun


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The verbal noun is here placed in opposition with the gerund. The verbal noun is an ING form

but is not part of non-finite forms: it is part of the nominal system, as it is a noun phrase which just

happens to look like a gerund or participle.

But how can we tell when an ING form is a verbal noun?


(35) The shooting of the attacker was an ugly episode.

(Uciderea celui care ii atacase era un episod urit.)


(36) Shooting the attacker was an ugly episode.

(Uciderea celui care ii atacase era un episod urit.)

Although the meaning of the two underlined structures is similar, they differ formally:

The first sentence contains a verbal noun, which can be identified by:

- The presence of the (i.e. the determiner)

- The presence of the of phrase (i.e. of the attacker)

- The fact that it can be combined with an adjective:

The cruel shooting of the attacker

The second sentence contains a gerund due to :

- The absence of a determiner like the, a

- The absence of an of phrase, but the presence of a direct object (i.e. the attacker)

- The possibility of its combination with an adverb:

Shooting the attacker cruelly

The problem with verbal nouns and gerunds is that they are both ended in ING and can

take a possessive:

George’s shooting of the attacker vs. George’s shooting the attacker.

The test that always helps you out of trouble is that of combining these constructions with an

adjective or an adverbial:

The first construction takes an adjective: George’s cruel shooting of the attacker, whereas the

second structures takes an adverb: George’s shooting the attacker cruelly. This means that the first

structure is a verbal noun while the second is a gerund.

Sometimes the verbal noun can appear without its ‘of’ phrase:

(37) His beautiful singing was a blessing to everyone.


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In (37) there are two verbal nouns: his beautiful singing and a blessing. How can we tell? In the

first case, we can identify the verbal noun by means of the adjective that accompanies it. In the second

situation, the verbal noun blessing is accompanied by a determiner which is an indefinite article. These

are features that normally characterize any noun.

Activity 12

Identify the verbal nouns in the following:

Men have as much patience for cool philandering as they have for shopping. / Shopping can be

a nice activity but shopping there can only be a mistake. / His coming there puzzled her./ His sudden

coming puzzled her./ The massive cutting of funds shocked everybody in the company. / Cutting funds

so suddenly came down as a shock. / Their looting and ruthless murdering was never forgotten./ All

newspapers commented on John’s robbing the bank. / John’s robbing of the bank was widely

commented on. / The unexpected robbing of the bank didn’t pass unnoticed.

8.4. ING Forms and Infinitives.

The aim of this subsection is mainly to help you better understand why those verbs or adjectives

that can be combined both with gerunds and with infinitives have a different meaning in each case.

It has been noticed that, whenever a verb can appear both with an infinitive and with a gerund,

the meaning is different. However, we can trace a common feature for all these special verbs. All of

them change their meaning according to the grammatical information offered by the construction they

are followed by.

For instance, whenever we meet an –ing form, we expect it to have something to do with an

event that has already happened (and then we are dealing with a gerund) or is happening (and we are

looking at a participle). With the infinitive, we expect it it to refer to something potential, that is going

to take place.

Look, for example, at the following:

(38) He saw Susan crossing the street.

(A vazut-o pe Susan traversind strada.)

as opposed to


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(39) He saw Susan cross the street.

(A vazut cum Susan a traversat strada.)

The difference in meaning is well expressed by the Romanian translation and is motivated by

what each form means: - the –ing form ( a participle) expresses something still happening ( so the guy

in the example is watching Susan as she advances across the street).

- the infinitival form (a bare infinitive) – by opposition with the participle –

suggests that we are watching the whole event of the crossing of the street (so the guy in the example

has watched the entire crossing)

Another example, and the most well-known one, is that of the verb stop:


(40) She stopped to eat a sandwich.

(S-a oprit sa manince un sandwich.)


(41) She stopped eating a sandwich.

(S-a oprit din mincat.)

The first example, containing an infinitive, suggests the fact that the eating of the sandwich is

going to take place (the potential, future-oriented value of the infinitive). The second example –

containing a gerund – suggests the fact that the eating of the sandwich had already commenced and was

then interrupted (the gerund expresses an event happening in the past, prior to the one expressed by the

main clause verb.)

After looking at this example, we can notice that the gerund expresses something that has

already happened, anterior to the verb in the main clause, whereas the infinitive expresses something

that is yet to happen, posterior to the verb in the main clause: the gerund is past-oriented, the infinitive

is future-oriented.

Let us examine other verbs like these, that require both a gerund and an infinitive:

a) Remember ,recollect, forget

(42) She remembers filling the tank with petrol.

(Si-aduce aminte ca a umplut rezervorul cu benzina.)



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(43) Remember to fill the tank with petrol.

(Adu-ti aminte sa umpli rezervorul cu benzina.)

The example with the gerund suggests that the filling of the tank has already happened; the

example with the infinitive suggests that the filling of the tank is going to happen.

b) regret

(44) I regret filling the tank with petrol.

(Imi pare rau ca am umplut rezervorul cu benzina.)


(45) I regret to fill the tank with petrol, but that’s it.

(Imi pare rau ca o sa umplu rezervorul cu benzina, dar asta este.)

The example with the gerund suggests that the filling of the tank has already happened; the

example with the infinitive suggests that the filling of the tank is going to happen.

c) try

(46) I tried filling the tank with petrol and then I did some car washing.

(Intii am incercat sa ma ocup cu umplerea rezervorului cu benzina, apoi m-am ocupat de

spalarea masinilor.)


(47) I tried to fill the tank with petrol but found it no easy job.

(Am incercat sa umplu rezervorul cu benzina, insa nu mi s-a parut treaba usoara.)

The first example implies the fact that the guy there has already filled the tank with petrol

several times. In the second example, the petrol tank is not filled yet , the action is not completed.

d) mean

(48) I mean to tell her the truth.

(Am de gind sa-i spun adevarul.)


(49) This means revealing her all my secrets.

(Asta inseamna sa-i dezvalui toate secretele mele.)

In the first example, the event has not happened yet, it is bound to happen as a result of the

subject’s intentions. In the second example, mean has the sense signify.


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e) need, want

With [+ human] objects, these verbs are used in combination with the infinitive:

(50) He wants / needs to learn English.

(Vrea / trebuie sa invete engleza.)

With [- human] objects, they can be combined with the gerund and acquire the same

interpretation as when they are followed by a passive infinitive:

(51) a.The house needs repairing.

(Casa trebuie reparata.)

b. The house needs to be repaired.

(Casa trebuie reparata.)

f) go on

(51) He goes on reading from that cheap novel.

(Continua sa citeasca din romanul acela ieftin.)


(52) After he studied for four years, he went on to become a lawyer.

(Dupa ce a invatat patru ani, s-a dus sa se faca avocat.)

In the first case we understand that the event of reading has already begun, whereas in the

second case, the event of becoming a lawyer is yet to happen.

Activity 13

Complete the following dialogue by putting the verbs in backets into the correct form, gerund or

infinitive, as required:

A: You complain about feeling lonely but you’ve only yourself to blame, you know. You don’t

even try (make) new friends. Why don’t you join a club of some sort and stop (feel) so sorry for


B: Look, John, I know you mean (be) kind, but I’d prefer (do) things my own way. I’ve tried

(join) clubs in the past but I absolutely hate (have) to meet a lot of new people and I used to dread (go)

to meetings so much that I stopped (attend) altogether after a few weeks, I regret (say).

A: But if you don’t go on (attend) , how can you expect to make friends? You need (persevere)

more. Friendship doesn’t just happen. It means (spend) time with people and (share) experiences with

them. If you only stopped (think) about it for a moment, you’d see I was right.


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B: But I’ve so little time for a social life. There’s always work that needs (do) in the house and

then there’s the novel I’m writing. I dread (think) what will happen if that’s not finished by the

deadline. And that’s not all.

A: OK, OK, before you go on (give) me any more reasons why you can’t go out, let me make a

final suggestion. Do you remember (meet) an American friend of mine at my house recently? Well,

he’s trying (make) up a paarty to go to the theatre to see “Private Lives” next week. He told me not to

forget (invite) you. I know you prefer (go) to concerts to (see) plays, on the whole, but this production

has had rave notices and I’m sure you’d enjoy it. What do you say?

B: Yes, I’d love (come), if you could give me your friend’s number, I’ll remember (ring) him

and (thank) him.

8.5. Key Concepts

In this subsection we have dealt with ING forms. These appear either as Present Participles or

as Gerunds. The main difference between these two forms lies in their special features. Participles

mainly function as adverbials, whereas gerunds function mainly as objects. The common function these

two structures share is that of attribute but the similarity is deceptive, since paraphrase can correctly

identify which is which.

Another special feature is which elements these two structures can be preceded by: a

preposition for gerunds and a conjunction for participles.

There are also important differences between gerunds and verbal nouns, although one can

mistake them due to the fact that both forms can combine with a possessive nominal. The main test of

disambiguation is that of combining the two forms with either an adverb (for the gerund) or an

adjective (for the verbal noun).

Last but not least, don’t forget that certain verbs can take both ING forms and infinitives after

them – but the meaning changes according to the main shade of meaning each of these constructions


Activity 14

In the following texts, identify the ING forms and analyse them syntactically:

a) He remembered entering the village and then the ground, the very earth opening up.

First the crack snaking its jagged way along the concrete, then the noise and the cracking stone, and

then the incredible sound of the ground opening up, the enormous split in the earth. The two sides were


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moving apart, their edges crashing inwards, down, down into God knows where. The sight of the two

children, the man and his bike disappearing in the hole. The collapsing shops – he remembered seeing

the shops on one side collapsing – and then the ragged mouth reaching towards him.

b) The people above heard the cry for help coming from the huge hole that had wrecked

the burning village. He looked up towards the daylight, hoping he would see somebody up there,

someone looking for survivors. Then he saw movement at his feet. At first, he thought it was dust

caused by the disturbance, but then he saw it billowing up from below. It was like a mist, slowly rising

in a swirling motion, slightly yellowish although he couldn’t be sure in the gloom. It seemed to be

spreading along the length of the split, moving up towards his chest, covering the girl’s head. She

started coughing.

Activity 15 (Optional exercise)

Translate into English, making use of the information supplied in this section:

1.Asa ca vrind-nevrind, eram toti adunati in camera aceea, mama mea, cei doi Mamona,

Vaucher si cu mine, si asteptind ca tot ce avea sa se intimple sa se intimple cu adevarat si nu numai in

inchipuirea mea sau a lor. Si ca la un semnal care anunta un inceput, se deschise o usa si venind o

sluga, totul se anima deodata. Ridicindu-se, Mamona cel Tinar parasi incaperea fara sa spuna un cuvint,

dar lasind in urma lui citiva stropi de singe, inveselind privirea cu rosul lor fierbinte si prevestitor. In

urma slugii, impiedicindu-se de Mamona cel Tinar plecind, venira alte doua si carind fiecare cite un


2.Intrind in casa noastra in anul 1812, intr-o joi, Vaucher a inceput prin a-l bate pe Mamona cel

Tinar sub privirile mele si aale mamei mele nepasatoare si a sfirsit in anul 1821, (…) omorit fiind de

catre Mamona cel Tinar, ucenicul sau necredincios. Numai ca toate astea sint departe si inca de

neinchipuit. Dar nu atit de neinchipuit incit, iesind din baltoaca lui si apropiindu-se de Mamona cel

Tinar pentru a-l lovi, sa nu-mi inchipui ca peste putina vreme ma va lovi si pe mine si atunci, inchizind

ochii, apasindu-mi pleoapele peste privirea din ei, frica si nepasarea m-au cuprins precum si gindul ca

intr-o zi cineva il va omori pe Vaucher si stiind ca nu eu o voi face, am stiut si cine. Si poate ca stind in

baltoaca lui, Vaucher a stiut si el, arata in orice caz ca cineva care stie, dar sperind ca totul va fi altfel

pina la urma.

3.Asa ca atunci cind a intrat Mamona cel Batrin, cu un sac ud pe umeri si mirosind tare a ploaie

si a sudoare, ne-a gasit pe fiecare la locul lui, pe mama mea parind absenta, dar stiutoare, asezata cu

spatele la noi, la mine, care stateam cu ochii aproape inchisi, pe Vaucher, asezat in baltoaca pe care o

facuse apa scursa din hainele lui, si pe Mamona cel Tinar, stind cu capul in tavan si cu o mina ridicata


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in sus, dupa cum ii spusese mama, parind insa ca ne saluta sau ca vrea sa-si ia ramas bun de la cineva.

Ne-a privit o clipa si, fara sa-si lepede sacul de pe umeri, neostenindu-se sa fac nici asta, nicidecum sa

ne salute sau sa spuna ceva, se duse linga mama si, aplecindu-se putin, o saruta pe frunte. Neclintiti,

continuam sa stam si sa asteptam.

(Stefan Agopian – Tache de catifea)



Exercise 1

Analyse syntactically:

1. Of course it was no accident that he had mismanaged the whole thing so horribly. 2. How

much, apart from his distress for parents, this would really hurt, he had not yet been able to estimate. 3.

He suffered his pangs of guilt and fear and loss and waited for these sufferings to pass. 4. He did not

know whether he was glad or sorry that she had accepted them without puzzlement, without profound

questioning. 5. With his claim for British nationality pending it was, he had been advised, unthinkable

that he should be extradited as a deserter. 6. He had thought a good deal less about Garth in recent

weeks, though when he had first arrived light months ago the return of Garth had been the thing to

which he had most looked forward. 7. There had seemed to be another place where Dorina walked

barefoot in the dew with her hair undone 8. How this time was to come, unless perhaps borne by a swift

horse, was unclear to Mitzi, and she kept intending to leave and then deciding not to, because of pity,

because she doubted whether she would find another job and because she thought that if she hung on

she would get some money, whereas if she went away she would get none. 9. You have been much in

my thoughts, and this particularly of late, since I have decided, for a number of reasons of which I shall

tell you at leisure, to retire early from my employment. 10. You must know that if you do not meet this

matter properly now, in some way, and meet it right here at home, you are choosing exile from what

you are fortunate enough to call your homeland. 11. Having regard to the date of drafting, Mr

Livingstone advises that you profess to have been traveling in continental Europe and not have

received the papers. 12. I am sorry not to have seen you, but I am afraid I am terribly busy at present.

13. That they saw the war differently was probably their most rational area of disagreement, and that

was difficult enough. 14. No one seemed to want to talk about it or to be interested or to understand. 15

Meanwhile the big talk with Garth to which he had been so much, even for months, looking forward


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had not yet taken place. 16 It was but too possible that Garth despised him for this match and felt

already that they were hopelessly divided. 17. Sometimes too she would see something in it which she

knew to be a ghost, the figure of a woman protecting from the waist upwards high up in the wall

opposite to her, like the prow of a ship and moving slightly as if tortured. 18 He surrounded her with

anxious possessive jealous tenderness, but in obedience to what he professed to think were her wishes,

he did not come to see her. 19. Thus they remained utterly obsessed with themselves and each other,

and some natural healing process of which Dorina felt she ought to know the secret could not take


(Iris Murdoch – An Accidental Man)

Exercise 2

Correct the following sentences:

Climbing down the tree, one of the eggs broke. / The sweetly-smelling flowers in the garden are

his most prized possession. / Before you go on changing the subject, please consider his proposition. /

He bought himself a new suit of clothes, for attending his sister’s wedding. / The incessant shouting

around the house woke Susan up; she could hear her heart beat wildly and her blood race in her veins. /

Whenever I visited my aunt, I was made say Grace before every dinner. / I would very much like

walking out in the rain, so shall we? / Billy was said to murder his parents when he was only five. / In

the end, I never got used to listen to Susan’s endless gossiping about her friends. / You oughtn’t behave

so rudely to your best friends; this always makes us feel embarrassed.

Exercise 3

Translate the following:

1.She accused Hugh Whitebread, of all people, (and there he was, her old friend Hugh, talking

to the Portuguese Ambassador) , of kissing her in the smoking-room to punish her for saying that

women should have votes. Vulgar men did, she said. And Clarissa remembered having to persuade her

not to denounce him at family prayers – which she was capable of doing with her daring, her

recklessness, her melodramatic love of being the centre of everything and creating scenes; and it was

bound, Clarissa used to think, to end in some awful tragedy. Instead of which she had married, quite

unexpectedly, a bald man with a large buttonhole who owned, it was said, cotton mills at Manchester.

And she had five boys! (Virginia Woolf – Mrs Dalloway)

2.Dupa ce a facut tirgul cu negustorul, Belizarie nu s-a grabit sa mearga si sa vada daca are ceva

de facut sau sa afle daca Gora vrea ceva in afara de plata cuvenita. Nici Gora nu l-a chemat un timp.


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Cind l-a chemat, nu a facut-o pentru asta. ea a fost mereu printre putinii din Metopolis care l-au socotit

totusi pe Belizarie medic si, cu ochiul ei sigur de a cintari oamenii, il numea pe Belizarie “o fiinta

mindra, sensibila si ofensata de rautatile fara sir ale lumii.” Ori de cite ori s-a simtit bolnava nu se

temuse sa-l cheme, dincolo de metodele lui brutale pe care nu le aplica oricui si oricum, era un bun

sfatuitor, numai sa fi stiut sa-i cistigi increderea. Nu la multa vreme de la transferul de proprietate, Gora

a inceput sa-l cheme tot mai des. Bolnava nu se simtea, dar vizitele acestui om din topor, viguros si

vesel in felul lui, ii faceau bine. Se auzea aproape zilnic din casa Gorei risul gros al lui Belizarie.

(Stefan Banulescu – Cartea de la Metopolis)

3.Rindurile dvs.au reusit sa ma insenineze o vreme si sa-mi risipeasca tristetea nedeslusita care

a insotit aparitia Jurnalului. Pesemne incordarea cu care am asteptat sa-l vad aparut mi-a epuizat

resursele bucuriei. Sau poate senzatia ca m-am despartit, astfel, de ceea ce ar fi trebuit sa ramina

capitalul meu de intimitate in spirit? Paginile acestea, cre s-au nascut lent, de-a lungul a cinci ani de

zile, reprezentau forma mea de a-mi satisface nevoia fireasca a participarii la un mister. De uitat, nu

puteam sa le uit, si in plus, aveam tot mai mult impresia ca experienta de exceptie cuprinsa in ele

implica urgenta comunicarii.

4.Cind a murit Gora Serafis, s-a intimplat ca Belizarie Belizarie sa fie in odaia ei. A fost gasit

plingind in urlete, pe scaunul lui tare, tropaind furios cu talpile late pe podea.

(St. Banulescu – ibid.)

5. Masura pe care o foloseste Polider e aceea pe care I-o da memoria lui asupra clientului,

vaazut cindva, o data sau de doua ori. Cind intilneste un om sau chiar cind numai il zareste de departe,

ochiul lui Polider ii cuprinde talia, lungimea picioarelor, latimea si ascutisul labei, chiar daca omul cu

pricina n-are deocamdata nevoie de pantaloni. (St. Banulescu – ibid.)

6.Neputinta batrinelor de a se ingriji singure si de a trai omeneste, cit mai au de trait, poate fi

compensata, in schimbul micilor averi pe care le detin, printr-o asistenta activa din afara, care insa

trebuie sa nu sustina, ci sa bazeze negotul particular de ani, desfasurat haotic si fara perspectiva privind

renasterea orasului luat in intregimea lui. (St. Banulescu – ibid.)

7. Pe Glad nu-l pricep si poate ca e inutil sa-l pricepi si sa-l explici. I-am dat haine de general

pentru ca in acelea de soldat nu-mi dovedea nimic si, mi-am zis, ca si tine, sa incerc maximumul pentru

a obtine macar minimumul. Ce a iesit, se stie. Personal, nu pricep nimic. Daca tu, Milionarule, poti face

ceva sa-l explici si sa-l justifici, fa-o. are nevoie. (St. Banulescu – ibid.)


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Exercise 4*

Consider the following texts. Translate them, paying attention to the way symmetry is built

through subordination:


And by the Leem lived a lock-keeper. Who was may father. Who was a phlegmatic yet

sentimental man. Who told me, when I was even younger than you, that there was no one walking the

world who hadn’t once sucked… and that the stars… Who was wounded at the third battle of Ypres.

And had a brother killed in the same battle. Who when asked about his memories of the War, would

invariably replay that he remembered nothing. Yet who when he was not asked would sometimes

recount bizarre anecdotes of those immemorial trenches and mudscapes, as if speaking of things remote

and fantastical in which his involevement was purely speculative. (..) Who fell in love with one of the

nurses. Who came home from the war, a wounded soldier, and married the nurse who nursed him back

to health. A story-book romance. Who, delivered from the holocaust, could scarcely believe that this

enchanted chapter of events was happening to him. Whose love was returned – with surprising



Could he be blamed, my grandfather, Ernest Richard Atkinson, for being a renegade, a rebel?

Could he be blamed for showing but scant interest in his future prospect as head of the Atkinson

Brewery and the Atkinson Water Transport Company? Could he be blamed – having been sent by his

father, Arthur Atkinson M.P., to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, to receive the finest education any

Atkinson had so far received – for squandering the time in undergraduate whims, for flirting with ideas

(European socialism, Fabianism, the writings of Marx) directly aimed at his father Tory principles; for

spending large parts of his vactions in nefarious sojourns in London, where he was called upon by the

police to explain his presence at a rally of the unemployed (he was there ‘out of curiosity’) and whence

he brought back to Kessling Hall in the year 1895 the woman, Rachel Williams, daughter of an ill-paid

journalist, to whom, he brazenly declared (omitting to mention other ladies with whom he had toyed),

he had already engaged himself?


But does merriment belong to him who gives it? Testimonies from those times – amply

confirmed by his last years, and by the photographs which I still possess of my maternal grandfather


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(brooding brows, deep-set, glowering eyes) – suggest that even in his restless youth Ernest Atkinson

was a melancholy, a moody man. That the flightiness of those early years was merely pursued – as is so

often the case – to combat inner gravity; that his dabbling with socialist doctrines was not done solely

to spite his father but out of an inclination (true to his name) to take the world in earnest; that he

dedicated himself to the manufacture of merriment because despondency urged him, and because – but

this is mere speculation, mere history teachers conjecture – he had learnt such dark things (what death-

bed confessions preceded old Arthur to the grave in 1904?) about his far-reaching progenitors that he

wished for nothing more than to be an honest and unambitious purveyor of barrels of happiness.


He described – I have in my possession a verbatim copy of this brave and doomed speech –

how it was conscience alone and no love of taking public stances (heckles from rear) that had spurred

him into the political field. How fear for the future had already soured his pleasure-giving role of

brewer. How he foresaw in the years ahead catastrophic consequences unless the present mood of

jingoism was curbed and the military poker-playing of the nations halted. How civilisation (had Ernest

inherited the prophetic gifts of Sarah? Or was he, as many suspected and attested with nudges to their

neighbours, just plain drunk?) faced the greatest crisis of its history. How if no one took steps… an

inferno… (Graham Swift – Waterworld)

Exercise 5

Translate into English, paying attention to the syntactical concepts studied in the classroom:

1.E un barbarism monstrous care ar scoate din mormint pe toti luptatorii limbii literare. L-au

derivat cei din teatru, din frantuzeste, mai intii intr-o locutiune ramasa culiselor cu exclusivitate: “a

face foame”. Cind actrita, tinara si frumoasa, e indragostita de un actor, tinar si frumos si el, care-I cere

sa-l ia de barbat, ea ii raspunde cu chibzuinta: “Esti nebun? Vrei sa facem foame amindoi ?’

2.Pe linga noi treceau grupuri care parca u aveau altceva de facut decit sa ne examineze.

Desigur ca toate grupurile se examinau si intre ele, dar nu puteam sa imi dau seama efectiv de acest

fapt, decit cind noi eram obiectul lui. Tot asa, de pilda, nevasta-mea, uneori si astazi chiar, privindu-ma

in ochi, viu si cu o stralucire pasionata, imi dadea impreasia ca numai pentru mine are aceasta privire.

3.Saptaminile urmatoare m-am simtit din ce in ce mai mult convalescent. Aceste intrevederi cu

nevasta-mea ma faceau sa suport nesfirsit mai usor ruptura si eram foarte multumit de bunul gind pe

care-l avusesem, provocindu-le. Departarea nu mai era o drama unica si distrugatoare de organe, ci un

sistem de acomodare.


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4.Intr-o vreme, parca incepusem s-o uit. Descoperisem un soi de preocupari, care o lasau pe ea

pe planul al doilea. Niciodata nu ajunsesem la o atit de mare putere de concentrare. Reluasem studiul si

citeva zile am avut impresia ca am gasit o explicatie menita sa revolutioneze filozofia. Era in mine o

claritate binefacatoare, asemeni calmului pe care ti-l da morfina.

5.Pe strada umblam aproape automat, cu toata atentia rasfrinta inauntru. Nu stiam nici pe ce

strazi merg, nu auzeam nimic in jurul meu si citeodata, traversind, dam buzna peste automobile. Tot ce

era raza de lumina era absorbit in interior. S-a intimplat sa patesc si necazuri penibile, sau ridicole.

6.Nu tineam minte nimic din ceea ce faceam. Era sa am din cauza asta un duel. Am fost oprit pe

boulevard de un domn si o doamna, fosta prietena din copilarie. Am inceput, pe jumatate prezent, sa-i

sarut mina ei si pe urma, continuind, i-am sarutat-o si domnului. A devenit palid, si-a tras mina brusc si

m-a dezmeticit si pe mine. Abia mai tirziu lucrurile s-au lamurit.

7.Am inceput, fireste, iar, sa merg intins, caci daca suferisem pina sa obtin invoirea, acum

paream scapat ca dintr-o prastie si nebunia revederii crestea in mine ca un spasm, pe care nimic nu l-ar

mai fi putut opri pina la istovirea lui. Ajuns inca dimineata in piata, simteam ca mi se dilate inima,

cautind o trasura pentru Cimpulung.

8.In clipa aceea am simtit ca voi dezerta pentru trei zile, orice s-ar intimpla cu mine, ca sa viu

prin surprindere sa vad ce face. I-am raspuns ca nu stiu, ca nu m-am gindit la asta. Adevarul e insa ca

ma gindisem. De multe ori imaginam cite o batalie si ma vedeam conducindu-mi plutonul cu o bravura

atit de extraordinara, incit toti sefii mei sa se entuziasmeze.

9.Daca nemtii inaintau, ma puteau prinde fara lupta, caci e neindoios ca n-as fi fost in stare sa

ma apar. De altminteri, nici nu mai aveam cui comanda, caci nu aveam linga mine decit sapte oameni.

E o problema, care si in cealalta viata m-a obsedat mereu, inca din ultimul an de liceu : sint inferior

celorlalti de virsta mea ?

10.De la o vreme oboseala imi da ca un val de nebunie. De trei zile si trei nopti n-am dormit

decit aseara, in santul soselei doua ore si azi dupa-masa alte doua. Acum picioarele nu mai gasesc nici

macar sprijin, in noroiul care aluneca sub ele, de parca am cauciuc la genunchi. As vrea sa ma las jos,

sa treaca peste mine bocancii camarazilor.

11.Daca prin absurd nu se intimpla nimic, si daca merg intins, asa ca un cadavru ambulant,

singur in picioare in tot largul cimpului, fara sa ma opresc o clipa, orice s-ar intimpla, sfertul de ceas

trebuie sa treaca. Dar nu trebuie sa ma opresc sub nici un cuvint, si nici sa fiu atent la ce e in jurul meu

ca sa-mi pierd curajul, si sa nu ametesc, ca un acrobat, care nu trebuie sa se uite in jos

12. A doua zi m-am mutat la hotel pentru saptamina pe care aveam s-o mai petrec in permisie.

I-am daruit nevesti-mi inca o suma ca aceea ceruta de ea la Cimpulung si m-am interesat sa vad cu ce


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formalitate ii pot darui casele de la Constanta. I-am scris ca-i las absolute tot ce e in casa, de la obiecte

de pret, la carti... de la lucruri personale, la amintiri. Adica tot trecutul.

13.La un moment dat, Prunoiu incepu sa spuna cum se muncise la formarea comitetului.

Auzindu-l, Anghel se dadu mai aproape si se facu atent. In curind, de uimire, nu mai pricepu nimic. Se

asteptase ca Prunoiu sa nu pomeneasca nimic despre organizatie. Nu numai ca pomeni tot timpul de

organizatie, dar si lauda Grozav pe Mitrica si pe Pascu. Numai de Anghel nu pomeni nici un cuvint.

14.Ilie i-a povestit apoi ca acolo, la fata locului, a stat mult pe ginduri pina sa le spuna

prietenilor pe sleau ceea ce gindea. Ii venea greu, stia bine ca dupa aceea ei au sa-l ocoleasca. Ii parea

rau si de Gavrila, care era un om de treaba si cu care se ajuta la nevoie. Greu era din partea asta, dar nu

se mai putea, trebuia sa le spuna.

15.Ilie se mira de purtarea curierului. Stan arata foarte ingrijorat de ce-o sa pateasca Ilie ca nu

venise mai dereme. Se vedea ca fusese el insusi luat la rost ca nu-l adusese pina acum pe Ilie Barbu. Ii

spuse sa mai astepte nitel, dar nu-i spuse si de ce, ca si cind faptul ca tovarasul presedinte si Anghel se

dusesera sa stea la masa ar fi fost un secret pe care Ilie nu trebuia sa-l stie.

16.Ilie nu-l asculta. Se uita nemiscat la Iancu, cu mirare, cu un soi de ciudata nedumerire. Nu

semana deloc cu Iancu acela de-acum cincisprezece ani. Nici macar cu cel de acum trei ani, de la

proces, nu mai semana. Acum trei ani i se uita in fata cu indrazneala. Acum isi ferea privirea, se uita in

jos, parca i-ar fi fost frica.

17.Lui Iancu ii era frica intr-adevar sa se uite la Ilie, dar nu pentru ceea ce-si inchipuia acesta.

Iancu se stapinea sa nu-i sara lui Ilie in git. Trebuise sa se scoale la vederea lui si sa mai joace si o

comedie. Uite, acum trebuia sa-i raspunda lui Ghioceoaia :

- Ma, eu am venit sa va intreb, nu trebuie sa va suparati, spuse el cu un glas ciudat, parca ar fi

vorbit in vis.

18.Zimbea siret, bagase de seama ca Anghel se preface. Vazuse apoi ca ceilalti se uitau din cind

in cind la omul ala pe care Ilie nu-l cunostea, apoi se uitau la Ilie, apoi din nou se intorceau spre omul

ala. Ilie nu intelesese nimic, dar, fara sa-si dea seama de ce, i se paru ca aici e ceva. Se uita si el mai

staruitor la tovarasul necunoscut. Ridica sprincenele plin de uimire : omul ii intimpinase privirea

deschis, zimbind foarte bucuros si clatinind a mustrare din cap.

19.Lui Prunoiu i-ar fi placut mai mult ca Sergiu sa-I spuna direct ce crede, asa cum facuse pina

acum, nu sa-I pomeneasca de Turlea. Aici era ceva, trebuia sa se poarte cu grija. Rau a facut ca a baut

aseara la circiuma cu ceilalti. Nu era nevoie, le facuse si-asa destula astmosfera, cum zicea Anghel. E

adevarat ca lumea stie ca sint prietenii lui, dar prietenia e una si treaba e alta.


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20.- Ce sa fac, ma gindesc la lumea asta care te da asa la o parte, raspunse Ilie aratind cu capul

spre birou.

Cel care intrebase nu zise nimic, I se paru prea indraznet raspunsul lui Ilie. Ar fi vrut sa auda

ceva mai ocolit, vorbe asa si-asa, care puteau fi intoarse dupa cum ar fi fost « nevoie ». se indeparta

nepasator. « Nu poti vorbi ca lumea cu Ilie asta », parea sa spuna cu nepasarea lui.

Exercise 6*

Analyse the following texts syntactically; comment on the underlined phrases:

1. Henry would have been so touched to believe that a man he deeply admired should care a

straw for him that he wouldn’t play with such a presumption if it were possibly vain. In a single glance

of the eye of the pardonable Master he read - having the sort of divination that belonged to his talent –

that this personage had ever a store of friendly patience, which was part of his rich outfit, but was

versed in no printed page of a rising scribbler. There was even relief, a simplification, in that: liking

him so much already for what he had done, how could one have liked him any more for a perception

which must at the best have been vague?

2. It was necessary to Paul’s soreness to believe for the hour in the intensity of his grievance –

all the more cruel for its not being a legal one. It was doubtless in the attitude of hugging this wrong

that he descended the stairs without taking leave of Miss Fancourt, who hadn’t been in view at the

moment he quitted the room. He was glad to get out into the honest dusky unsophisticated night, to

move fast, to take his way home on foot. He walked a long time, going astray, paying no attention.

3. Winterbourne wondered whether she was seriously wounded, and for a moment almost

wished that her sense of injury might be such as to make it becoming in him to attempt to reassure and

comfort her. He had a pleasant sense that she would be very approachable for consolatory purposes. He

felt then, for the instant, quite ready to sacrifice his aunt, conversationally; to admit that she was a

proud, rude woman, and to declare that they needn’t mind her. But before he had time to commit

himself to this perilous mixture of galantry and impiety, the young lady, resuming her walk, gave an


4.It was impossible to regard her as a perfectly well-conducted young lady; she was wanting in

a certain indispensable delicacy. It would therefore simplify matters greatly to be able to treat her as the

object of one of those sentiments which are called by romancers ‘lawless passions.’ That she should

seem to wish to get rid of him would help him to think more lightly of her and to be able to think more


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lightly of her would make her much less perplexing. But Daisy, on this occasion, continued to present

herself as an inscrutable combination of audacity and innocence.

5. He flattered himself on the following day that there was no smiling among the servants when

he, at least, asked for Mrs.Miller at her hotel. She was one of those American ladies who, while

residing abroad, make a point, in their own phrase, of studying European society; and she had on this

occasion collected several specimens of her diversely born fellow-mortals to serve, as it were, as text

book. Her daughter, on the other hand, was not a young lady to wait to be spoken to. She rustled

forward, in radiant loveliness, smiling and chattering, making Paul stop and look at her.

6.When Daisy cane to take leave of Mrs.Walker, this lady conscientiously repaired the

weakness of which she had been guilty at the moment of the young girl’s arrival. She turned her back

straight upon Miss Miller and left her to depart with what grace she might. Daisy turned very pale and

looked at her mother, but Mrs Miller was humbly unconscious of any violation of the usual social

forms. She appeared, indeed, to have felt an incongruous impulse to draw attention to her own striking

observance of them.

7.I preferred that crumbling things should be allowed to crumble at their ease. My goddaughter

was quite of my way of thinking; she had a high appreciation of antiquity. Advising with me, often, as

to projected changes, she was sometimes more conservative even than I, and I more than once smiled at

her archaeological zeal, declaring that I believe she had married the Count because he was like a statue

of the Decadence. I had a constant invitation to spend my days at the Villa, and my easel was always

planted in one of the garden-walks; so I finally grew to have a painter’s passion for the place.

8. He left me musing, uncomfortably, and wondering what the deuce he meant. The Count

certainly chose to make a mystery of the Juno, but this seemed a natural incident of the first rapture of

possession. I was willing to wait for permission to approach her, and in the meantime I was glad to find

that there was a limit to his constitutional apathy. But as the days elapsed I began to be conscious that

his enjoyment was not communicative, but strangely cold and shy and sombre. That he should admire a

marble goddess was no reason for his despising mankind; yet he really seemed to be making invidious

comparisons between us.

9.H. was only half satisfied with this, for it was by no means definite to him that Bohemians

were also to be saved; if he could be sure perhaps he would become one himself. Yet he never

suspected Mr Vetch of being a govermental agent, though E. Poupin had told him that there were a

great many who looked a good deal like that: not of course with any purpose of incriminating the

fiddler, whom he had trusted from the first and continued to trust. The agent became a very familiar


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type to H, and, though he had never caught one of the infamous brotherhood in the act there were

plenty of persons to whom he had no hesitation in attributing the character.

10.H. wondered what they were talking about, and perceived that it must be something

important, for the stranger was not a man who would take an interest in anything else. H. was

immensely struck with him, could see he was remarkable, and felt slightly aggrieved that he should be

a stranger: that is that he should be apparently a familiar of Lisson and yet that M.Poupin should not

have thought his young friend from Lomax Place worthy up to this time to be made acquainted with

him. I know not to what degree the visitor in the other chair discovered these reflections on H’s face.

11. The close logic of this speech and the quaint self-possession with which the little bedridden

speaker delivered it struck H. as amazing and confirmed his idea that the brother and sister were a most

extraordinary pair. It had a terrible effect on poor Lady Aurora, by whom so stern a lesson from so

humble a quarter had evidently not been expected and who sought refuge from her confusion in a series

of pleading gasps, while Paul, with his humorous density, which was deliberate, and acute too, not

seeing, or at any rate not heeding, that she had been sufficiently snubbed by his sister, inflicted a fresh

humiliation in saying: ‘Rosy’s right, it’s no use trying to buy yourself off.’

12. She got up quickly when Paul had ceased speaking; the movement suggested she had taken

offence and he would have liked to show her he thought she had been rather roughly used. But she gave

him no chance, not glancing at him for a moment. Then he saw he was mistaken and that if she had

flushed considerably it was only with the excitement of pleasure, the enjoyment of such original talk

and of seeing her friends at last as free and familiar as she wished them to be.

13. It may easily be believed that he criticized his inclination even while he gave himself up to

it, and that he often wondered he should find so much to attract in a girl in whom he found so much to

condemn. When he himself was not letting his imagination wander among the haunts of the aristocracy

and stretching it in the shadow of the ancestral beech to read the last number of some fashionable

magazine, he was occupied with contemplations of a very different kind: he was absorbed in the

struggles of millions whose life flowed in the same current as his and who, though they constantly

excited his disgust and made him shrink and turn away, had the power to chain his sympathy.

14. At his suggestion she had retracted the falsehoods with which she had previously tried to

put the boy off, and had made at last a confession which he was satisfied to believe as complete as her

knowledge. H. could never have told you why the crisis had occurred on such a day, why his question

had broken out at that particular moment. The strangeness of the mater to himself was that the germ of

his curiosity should have developed so slowly; that the haunting wonder which now, as he looked

back, appeared to fill his whole childhood, should only after so long an interval have crept up to the air.


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15. His having the courage to disinter from The Times in the reading-room of the British

Museum a report of his mother’s trial for the murder of Lord Purvis, which was very copious, the affair

having been quite a cause celebre; his resolution in sitting under that splendid dome and, with his head

bent to hide his hot eyes, going through every syllable of the ghastly record had been an achievement

of comparatively recent years. There were certain things Pinnie knew that appalled him; and there were

others, as to which he would have given his hand to have some light, that it made his heart ache

supremely to find she was honestly ignorant of.

16.At the theatre, he felt there was a pleasing inconsequence in Mary’s being moved to tears in

the third act of the play, where the Pearl of Paraguay, disheveled and distracted, dragging herself on her

knees, implored the stern hidalgo her father to believe in her innocence in spite of circumstances

appearing to condemn her – a midnight meeting with the wicked hero in the grove of coconuts. It was

at this crisis none the less that she asked H. who his friends were in the principal box on the left of the

stage and let him know that a gentleman seated there had been watching him at intervals for the past

half hour.

17. There was not a country in the world he appeared not to have ransacked, and to H. his

trophies represented a wonderfully long purse. The whole establishment, from the low-voiced

inexpressive valet who, after he had poured brandy into tall tumblers, solemnized the very popping of

soda-water corks, to the quaint little silver receptacle in which he was invited to deposit the ashes of his

cigar, was such a revelation for our appreciative youth that he felt himself hushed and depressed, so

poignant was the thought that it took thousands of things he then should never possess nor know to

make a civilized being.

18. H. had seen plenty of women who chattered about themselves and their affairs – a vulgar

garrulity of confidence was indeed a leading characteristic of the sex as he had hitherto learned to know

it – but he was quick to perceive that the great lady who now took the trouble to open herself to him

was not of a gossiping habit; that she must be on the contrary, as a general thing, proudly, ironically

reserved, even to the point of passing with many people for a model of the unsatisfactory. It was very

possible she was capricious; yet the fact that her present sympathies and curiosities might be a caprice

wore in her visitor’s eyes no sinister aspect.

19. H. didn’t mind, with the poor, going into questions of their state – it even gave him at times

a strange savage satisfaction; but he saw that in discussing them with the rich the interest must

inevitably be less: the rich couldn’t consider poverty in the light of experience. Their mistakes and

illusions, their thinking they had got hold of the sensations of want and dirt when they hadn’t at all,

would always be more or less irritating. It came over H. that if he found this deficient perspective in


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Lady Aurora’s deep conscientiousness it would be a queer enough business when he should come to

pretending to hold the candle-stick for the princess.

20. One evening in November he had after discharging himself of a considerable indebtedness

to Pinnie still a sovereign in his pocket – a sovereign that seemed to spin there under the equal breath of

a dozen different uses. He had come out for a walk with a vague intention of pushing as far as Audley

Court; and lurking within this nebulous design, on which the damp breath of the streets, making objects

seem that night particularly dim and places particularly far, had blown a certain chill, was a sense of

how nice it would be to take something to Rose, who delighted in a sixpenny present and to whom he

hadn’t for some time rendered any such homage.

(Henry James – The Princess Casamassima)


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