Rules of Syntax

Rules of Syntax :

1. The subject of a verb is in the nominative case.

2. A substantive standing in the predicate, but describing or defining the subject, agrees with the subject in case and is called a predicate nominative.

3. A substantive used for the purpose of addressing a person directly, and not connected with any verb, is called a vocative.

A vocative is in the nominative case, and is often called a nominative by direct address or a vocative nominative.

4. A substantive used as an exclamation is called an exclamatory nominative or a nominative of exclamation.

5. A substantive, with a participle, may express the cause, time, or circumstances of an action.

This is called the absolute construction.

The substantive is in the nominative case and is called a nominative absolute.

6. The possessive case denotes ownership or possession.

7. The object of a verb or preposition is in the objective case.

8. A substantive that completes the meaning of a transitive verb is called its direct object, and is said to be in the objective case.

9. A verb of asking sometimes takes two direct objects, one denoting the person and the other the thing.

10. Verbs of choosing, calling, naming, making, and thinking may take two objects referring to the same person or thing.

The first of these is the direct object, and the second, which completes the sense of the predicate, is called a predicate objective.

11. Some verbs of giving, telling, refusing, and the like, may take two objects, a direct object and an indirect object.

The indirect object denotes the person or thing toward whom or toward which is directed the action expressed by the rest of the predicate.

12. A verb that is regularly intransitive sometimes takes as object a noun whose meaning closely resembles its own.

A noun in this construction is called the cognate object of the verb and is in the objective case.

13. A noun, or a group of words consisting of a noun and its modifiers, may be used adverbially. Such a noun is called an adverbial objective.

14. An appositive is in the same case as the substantive which it limits.

15. A pronoun must agree with its antecedent in gender, number, and person.

16. Relative pronouns connect dependent clauses with main clauses by referring directly to a substantive in the main clause.

This substantive is the antecedent of the relative.

A relative pronoun must agree with its antecedent in gender, number, and person.

The case of a relative pronoun has nothing to do with its antecedent, but depends on the construction of its own clause.

17. A relative pronoun in the objective case is often omitted.

18. The relative pronoun what is equivalent to that which, and has a double construction

(1) the construction of the omitted or implied antecedent that

(2) the construction of the relative which.

19. The compound relative pronouns may include or imply their own antecedents and hence may have a double construction.

The compound relatives are sometimes used without an antecedent expressed or implied.

20. An adjective is said to belong to the substantive which it describes or limits.

21. Adjectives may be classified, according to their position in the sentence, as attributive, appositive and predicate adjectives.

1. An attributive adjective is closely attached to its noun and regularly precedes it.

2. An appositive adjective is added to its noun to explain it, like a noun in apposition.

3. A predicate adjective completes the meaning of the predicate verb, but describes or limits the subject.

22. The comparative degree, not the superlative, is used in comparing two persons or things.

The superlative is used in comparing one person or thing with two or more.

23. Relative adverbs introduce subordinate clauses and are similar in their use to relative pronouns.

24. A verb must agree with its subject in number and person.

25. A compound subject with and usually takes a verb in the plural number.

26. A compound subject with or or nor takes a verb in the singular number if the substantives are singular.

27. Nouns that are plural in form but singular in sense commonly take a verb in the singular number.

28. Collective nouns take sometimes a singular and sometimes a plural verb.

When the persons or things denoted are thought of as individuals, the plural should be used. When the collection is regarded as a unit, the singular should be used.

29. A verb is in the active voice when it represents the subject as the doer of an act.

30. A verb is in the passive voice when it represents the subject as the receiver or the product of an action.

The object of the active verb becomes the subject of the passive, and the subject of the active verb becomes in the passive an adverbial phrase modifying the predicate verb.

31. When a verb takes both a direct and an indirect object, one of the two is often retained after the passive, the other becoming the subject.

32. The indicative is the mood of simple assertion or interrogation, but it is used in other constructions also.

33. The imperative is the mood of command or request.

34. The subject of an imperative is seldom expressed unless it is emphatic.

The subject, when expressed, may precede the imperative: as,—You go, You read.

35. The subjunctive mood is used in certain special constructions of wish, condition, and the like.

36. An infinitive, with or without a complement or modifiers, may be used as the subject of a sentence, as a predicate nominative or as an appositive.

37. An infinitive may be used as the object of the prepositions but, except, about.

38. The infinitive may be used as a nominative of exclamation.

39. An infinitive may modify a verb by completing its meaning, or by expressing the purpose of the action.

40. An infinitive may be used as an adjective modifier of a noun or as an adverbial modifier of an adjective.

In this use the infinitive is said to depend on the word which it modifies.

41. A kind of clause, consisting of a substantive in the objective case followed by an infinitive, may be used as the object of certain verbs.

Such clauses are called infinitive clauses, and the substantive is said to be the subject of the infinitive.

The subject of an infinitive is in the objective case.

Infinitive clauses are used

(1) after verbs of wishing, commanding, advising and the like

(2) after some verbs of believing, declaring, and perceiving.

An infinitive clause may be the object of the preposition for.

An infinitive clause with for may be used as a subject, as a predicate nominative, or as the object of a preposition.

42. The participle is a verb-form which has no subject, but which partakes of the nature of an adjective and expresses action or state in such a way as to describe or limit a substantive.

43. A participle is said to belong to the substantive which it describes or limits.

44. A participle should not be used without some substantive to which it may belong.

45. An infinitive or a participle, like any other verb-form, may take an object if its meaning allows.

46. Infinitives and participles, like other verb-forms, may be modified by adverbs, adverbial phrases, or adverbial clauses.

47. Verbal (or participial) nouns in -ing have the form of present participles, but the construction of nouns.

48. Verbal nouns in -ing have certain properties of the verb.

1. Verbal nouns in -ing may take a direct or an indirect object if their meaning allows.

2. A verbal noun in -ing may take an adverbial modifier.

But verbal nouns in -ing, like other nouns, may be modified by adjectives.

49. A noun in -ing may be used as an adjective, or as the adjective element in a compound noun.

50. The substantive which follows a preposition is called its object and is in the objective case.

51. A coordinate conjunction connects words or groups of words that are independent of each other.

52. A subordinate conjunction connects a subordinate clause with the clause on which it depends.

53. Interjections usually have no grammatical connection with the phrases or sentences in which they stand.

Sometimes, however, a substantive is connected with an interjection by means of a preposition.

Rules of Syntax :

Rules of Syntax To HOME PAGE

Idioms Index – Previous Page

Rules of Syntax - Rules of Syntax - Rules of Syntax - Rules of Syntax - Rules of Syntax - Rules of Syntax - Rules of Syntax