Grammatical Features Typical of Modern English


Naturally only some features of Modern English will be considered here.

The deeply rooted tendency for compactness has stimulated a wide use of various verbal complexes: the infinitive complex, the gerundial complex, the participial complex, the absolute nominative construction. The same tendency is displayed in some pre-positional attributes: the N1 + N2 attributive model, attributive groups, attributive phrases. None of them has any equivalents in Ukrainian grammar and as a rule they require decompression in translation. Causative constructions also illustrate this tendency for compactness.


He soon twinkled Paul out of his sulks (R.F.Dalderfield).

³ , .


Translation is sometimes impeded by the existence of grammatical homonymy in Modern English. For example, the Gerund and Participle I are homonyms. The analytical forms of the Future-in-the-Past are homonyms with the forms of the Subjunctive mood: should (would) + infinitive. The difficulty is aggravated by a homonymous form of the Past Indefinite of the verb will expressing volition. The Infinitive of Purpose and the Infinitive of Subsequent Action may easily be confused. Grammatical homonymy may often be puzzling and may sometimes cause different interpretations. In such cases recourse should be taken to a wider context, e.g.

What we stand for is winning all over the world. (L. Barkhudarov, Lectures).

The translation of the sentence depends on the grammatical interpretation of the ing form, i.e. whether it is interpreted as Participle I or as a Gerund. According to the former interpretation, the word combination is + winning is the form of the Present Continuous Tense; according to the latter, it is a nominal predicate link verb + Predicative. These different interpretations result in different translations:


1. , , .

2. , .

A different grammatical interpretation involves a different political interpretation.



Some English grammatical forms and structures have no corresponding counterparts in Ukrainian, others have only partial equivalents. The first group (non-equivalents) includes articles, the gerund and the Past Perfect Tense.

Articles. The categories of definiteness and indefiniteness are universal but the ways and means of expressing these notions vary in different languages.

In English this function is fulfilled by the articles whereas in Ukrainianby word order. Both the definite and indefinite articles in English are meaningful and their meanings and their functions cannot be ignored in translation.

Every utterance falls into two parts the so-called theme and rheme. The theme indicates the subject of the utterance while the rheme contains the information about the subject. The theme, in other words, represents a known thing, which has probably been mentioned before, whereas the rheme introduces some new information. Thus the theme is the starting point of the utterance and as such it can sometimes introduce a new subject about which the rheme gives some information. In this case the indefinite article is used to indicate indefiniteness. The theme usually occupies the initial position in the sentence. The theme in the English language with its fixed word order usually coincides with the grammatical subject of the sentence. When the theme again occurs in the text it is preceded by the definite article.


A lady entered the compartment. The lady sat down in the corner seat


The categories of indefiniteness and definiteness are expressed by the indefinite and the definite articles respectively and these categories are rendered by word order in translation.

. .

When the articles are charged with some other meanings apart from the categories of definiteness and indefiniteness lexical means come into play in translation.

If these meanings are not rendered lexically the Ukrainian sentence is semantically incomplete.

The influence and authority of the Secretariat depends to an extent (though not nearly to the extent that is popularly supposed) on the talents of one individual the Secretary-General. (Peter Lyon, The U.N. in Action).

( , ) .


The Gerund.Another non-equivalent form is the gerund. It fulfils various functions in the sentence and can be translated by different means.

I wonder at Jolions allowing this engagement, he said to Aunt Ann

(J. Galsworthy).

, , .

The gerund modified by a proper noun in the possessive case is translated by a subordinate clause.

The gerund used in the function of a prepositional object is also rendered in translation by a subordinate clause.

The mayor of the island is talking of opening up its lush and virgin interior to beef-and-dairy cattle ranching.

, , .

The so-called half-gerund may also be translated by a subordinate clause.

There was nothing more to say: which didnt prevent, as the game went on, a good deal more being said. (G.F.Snow).

, , .

The Past Perfect Tense.The meaning of the Past Perfect Tense is usually rendered in Ukrainian by some adverbs of time.

The stone heat of the day had gentled down. (I.Shaw).

, , .

But in many cases the Past Perfect Tense is translated by the Ukrainian Past Tense without any temporal specification.

The mainspring of his existence was taken away when she died Ellen was the audience before which the blustering drama of Gerald OHara had been played. (M. Mitchell).

. ... , Β.


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Rendering of stylistic meaning in translation | National Character of Stylistic Systems

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