Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. Newbie
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Sep 2016
    • Posts: 6
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    How do we parse impersonal passive?

    Good morning everyone.
    I was performing a syntactic analysis of the following sentence:

    They say that he cheats

    That is what I've got: [they] - subject; [say] - predicate; [that he cheats] - direct object (content clause)
    BUT! When I transform it into a passive, its syntactic structure changes beyond recognition:

    He is said to cheat

    [He] - subject; [is said] must be the predicate; [to cheat] appears to be something repesented by the infinitive.

    Could you, please, explain what this infintive might be and why?

    Thank you in advance!


    Seva

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Great Britain
      • Current Location:
      • Great Britain

    • Join Date: Mar 2016
    • Posts: 209
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: How do we parse impersonal passive?

    He is said [to cheat].

    The bracketed infinitival clause is complement of the matrix verb "said". Such complements are sometimes called "catenative complements": "catenative" being derived from the Latin word for chain; in grammar, a chain of verbs.

    In your example, the catenative complement is obligatory since it is required to complete the verb phrase.

  2. Newbie
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation

    • Join Date: Sep 2016
    • Posts: 6
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: How do we parse impersonal passive?

    Thank you so very much, PaulMatthews; you have been of great help!
    The only thing that is left to understand is why such infinitive-clauses are referred to as "clauses". I thought that for a clause to be a clause it must comprise both the subject and the predicate. Could you, please, explain where I am wrong?:)

    Thank you again.

    Seva

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Great Britain
      • Current Location:
      • Great Britain

    • Join Date: Mar 2016
    • Posts: 209
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: How do we parse impersonal passive?

    Most non-finite clauses have no overt subject, but in a sense we understand them as having subjects. In you example, the subject is retrievable from the matrix clause and can only be "he": we understand that 'he cheats'. But "he" is not actually present in the subordinate clause, so we refer to it as the "understood subject".

Similar Threads

  1. How should I parse “…many of them efforts…”?
    By Man_From_India in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 14-Dec-2013, 04:04
  2. Please parse this sentence
    By donnach in forum Analysing and Diagramming Sentences
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 16-Mar-2008, 01:37
  3. How to parse a sentence in the passive voice?
    By Mohammed Abu Risha in forum Analysing and Diagramming Sentences
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 11-Mar-2008, 19:42
  4. Please parse this sentence
    By donnach in forum Analysing and Diagramming Sentences
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 22-Feb-2008, 21:43
  5. parse meaning
    By user_gary in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 12-Jan-2007, 04:18

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

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