Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Parts of speech

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    21
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Parts of speech

    Could you help me, please?
    I'm trying to understand, what part of speech the word "alien" in the following sentence is:
    He is alien to me.
    For the first sight we would say it's an adjective. But there is another structure: He is an alien to this work. , where "alien" is a noun. And these two structures are very similar (or even have the same meanings). So, might it be that "alien" is a noun (or a substantive adjective) in the first sentence? Could there substantivation take place? Or there should be an obligatory article in front of "alien" in this case?
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Parts of speech

    He is alien.(Adjective. It's synonymous with different)

    Adjective Test: He seems alien/different. (OK)

    This is new to me. (Adjective)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    21
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Parts of speech

    Thanks, Kasiopea. Of course, you are right. And I understand it. But I just wanted to "investigate" this word and this sentence. Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Parts of speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Doughnut
    Thanks, Casiopea. But I just wanted to "investigate" this word and this sentence.
    You're welcome.

    By the way, here's a test you can try: if the word/phrase in question renames the subject, then it's substantive; if it adds information to the subject, then it's non-substantive.

    Word
    He is an alien => An alien is who he is. (Noun)
    He is alien => Alien is what he is. (Adjective)

    Phrase
    He is alien to me => Alien to me is what he is. (Adjective)
    He is an alien to me => An alien is who he is. (Noun)

    You can also try changing the word order:

    Word order
    To me, he is alien. (Adjective)
    To me, he is an alien. (Noun)

    He seems to me to be alien. (Adjective)
    He seems to me to be an alien. (Noun)

    The man is young. (Noun is Adjective)
    The young are men. (Substantive adjective are Noun)

    But, but, but, when we look at the semantic side of things, the substantive comes into play:

    He is alien to me = He is strange. (Adjective)
    He is alien to me = He is a stranger. (Noun, substantive adjective)

    If 'alien to me' is synonymous with 'a stranger', then it's functioning as a noun.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    21
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Parts of speech

    Casiopea, you write:
    He is alien to me = He is strange. (Adjective)
    He is alien to me = He is a stranger. (Noun, substantive adjective)

    So then I have 2 questions:
    1. It's possible, that in examples like mine - smd is alien to smb - alien is a noun, isn't it? Even if there is no article? Why do we omit article in this case?
    2. What is the difference then between these 2 phrases:
    He is alien to me (= He is a stranger) and He is an alien to me?

    Thank you very much for such a detailed explanation. And I am sorry for possible mistakes in spelling and shaping (?) my thoughts, as English is not my native language.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Parts of speech

    Quote Originally Posted by Doughnut
    It's possible, that in examples like mine - smd is alien to smb - alien is a noun, isn't it? Even if there is no article? Why do we omit article in this case?
    Yes, it's possible, but I don't know how to answer your question, sorry.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    21
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Parts of speech

    Casiopea, so there are situations when even native speakers of English can't explain some phenomena in the language, aren't there?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Parts of speech

    Not just native speakers, Hun. Linguists, too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    21
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Parts of speech

    Casiopea, what a pity! But thank you anyway!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Parts of speech

    You're welcome.

Similar Threads

  1. Identifying parts of speech in a sample sentence
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 29-Oct-2004, 05:58
  2. parts of speech
    By jiang in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 19-Oct-2004, 09:41
  3. parts of speech
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 30-Aug-2004, 21:43
  4. deffinitions for the 8 parts of speech
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 28-Jan-2004, 09:33

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Hotchalk