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One-member sentences

§ 4. One-member sentences in English are of two types:nominal sentences andverbal sentences.

Nominal sentences are those in which the principal part is expressed by a noun. They state the existence of the things expressed by them. They are typical of descriptions.

Nominal sentences may be:

a) unextended.

Silence. Summer. Midnight.

b) e x t e n d e d.

Dusk - of a summer night.

The grass, this good, soft, lush grass.

English spring flowers!

Verbal sentences are those in which the principal part is expressed by a non-finite form of the verb, either an infinitive or a gerund. Infinitive and gerundial one-member sentences are mostly used to describe different emotional perceptions of reality.

 

To think of that!

To think that he should have met her again in this way!

Living at the mercy of a woman!

Elliptical (incomplete) sentences

§ 5. A two-member sentence may be either completeorincomplete (elliptical). An elliptical sentence is a sentence in which one or more word-forms in the principal positions are omitted. Ellipsis here refers only to the structural elements of the sentence, not the informational ones. This means that those words can be omitted, because they have only grammatical, structural relevance, and do not carry any new relevant information.

In English elliptical sentences are only those having no word-forms in the subject and predicate positions, i. e., in the positions which constitute the structural core of the sentence.

There are several types of elliptical sentences.

1. Sentences without a word-form in the subject position.

Looks like rain.

Seems difficult.

Don’t know anything about it.

2. Sentences without word-forms in the subject position and part of the predicate position. In such cases the omitted part of the predicate may be either a) an auxiliary verb or b) a link verb.

a) Going home soon?

See what I mean?

Heard nothing about him lately.

b) Not bad.

Free this evening?

Nice of you to come.



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Susan’s father?

3. Sentences without a word-form only in part of the predicate position, which may be an auxiliary or a link verb.

You seen them?

Everything fixed?

You sure?

All settled.

4. Sentences without word-forms both in the subject and the predicate position. Such ellipses occur in various responses.

What time does Dave come for lunch? - One o’clock.

What were you thinking about? - You.

What do you want of us? Miracles?

Where’re you going? - Home.

5. Sentences without a word-form in the predicate position. Such ellipses occur only in replies to questions.

Who lives there? - Jack.

What’s happened? - Nothing.

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Two-member sentences | The Structural Types of Sentence

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