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  1. #1

    Dummy subject

    What about this sentence?
    Dummy subject is "they"

    "They"" all praised themselves.
    "They" = dummy subject.


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 1,571
    #2

    Re: Dummy subject

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwishop View Post
    What about this sentence?
    Dummy subject is "they"

    "They"" all praised themselves.
    "They" = dummy subject.
    They all praised themselves.
    'They' is a notional subject. It refers to a group of people, to which the speaker does not belong.

  2. whitemoon's Avatar
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      • Myanmar
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    • Join Date: Aug 2006
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    #3

    Re: Dummy subject

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    They all praised themselves.
    'They' is a notional subject. It refers to a group of people, to which the speaker does not belong.
    Dear Clark,
    'a notional subject' is new to me.
    Please explain it to me.
    You both are my friends.
    In the sentence, "you" is a notional subject, isn't it?
    Thank you in advance.


    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 2,886
    #4

    Re: Dummy subject

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwishop View Post
    What about this sentence?
    Dummy subject is "they"

    "They"" all praised themselves.
    "They" = dummy subject.
    after clefting the original sentence, you get this:

    It is they that all praised themselves.

    It is a dummy subject, and they is the real subject.


    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 2,886
    #5

    Re: Dummy subject

    Quote Originally Posted by whitemoon View Post
    Dear Clark,
    'a notional subject' is new to me.
    Please explain it to me.
    You both are my friends.
    In the sentence, "you" is a notional subject, isn't it?
    Thank you in advance.
    notional means real, with real referent.


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 1,571
    #6

    Re: Dummy subject

    Quote Originally Posted by whitemoon View Post
    Dear Clark,
    'a notional subject' is new to me.
    Please explain it to me.
    You both are my friends.
    In the sentence, "you" is a notional subject, isn't it?
    Thank you in advance.
    A notional subject, or a real subject, is one that has a referent, i.e. a thing, or a person, or a fact, or an action, etc. it refers to in the real world. A formal subject (also called a dummy, or empty subject) does not have a referent (or 'semantic content' as Svartnic put it) and plays only a structural role in a sentence.

    We normally use the term 'notional' subject when there is also a formal one in the same sentence, to distinguish between them. E.g. It is easy to do it. 'To do' is a notional subject, while 'it' is a formal one.

    There are only two words that can function as formal subjects in English - 'it' and 'there'. All other words functioning as subjects would be notional. So there is no need to specify that, for example, 'you' is a notional subject. It is understood.

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