Technical English

Technical English

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Chapter7 (v.7) - projects

Author Chapter Note

Terfa Meshach is a graduate of English from the Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria; he has a Masters Degree in English Language. During his service year, he was the President/Editor-In-Chief, Editorial Board, NYSC Katsina State; and the Editor-In-Chief, National Association of Catholic Corpers, Katsina State. He is the Author of Teaching and Understanding Made Easy, The Super Hero, The Local Champion…Segmental and Suprasegmental Phonemes, The Intellectual Saviour, and the co-translator of the novel – The Legacy of our Forefathers. He is an Awards Winning Novelist and Best Critic, External Editor, Writers’ League, and the Editorial Consultant, The Quarry, Gwarinpa, Abuja. He Lectures at Fidei Polytechnic Gboko, Abuja Campus.

Chapter Content - ver.7

Submitted: February 18, 2017

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A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.7

Submitted: February 18, 2017

A A A

A A A

FIDEI POLYTECHNIC

GBOKO

 

 

 

 

LECTURE NOTE

 

ON

Technical English

(For HND Students)

 

 

 

BY

MESHACH TERFA

07034806899 & 09096696224

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

PERSONAL PRONOUNS

It has already been established that a pronoun is a word used instead of a noun, and that pronouns are used to avoid monotonous repetition of nouns. There are different types of pronouns such as indefinite pronoun e.g. any, one, several, some, all, anybody, each, few, someone, somebody, none, nothing etc. possessive pronouns e.g. my, mine, etc., reciprocal pronouns e.g. each other, one another etc. personal pronouns e.g. me, I, us etc. and many others; the last, however, is our concern here.

Personal pronouns are used to refer back to something or someone that has already been mentioned. When personal pronouns are used as subjects in sentences, they begin with capital letters or upper cases hence they function as subjects, however, where they are used as objects of sentences, they begin with smaller letters or lower cases e.g.

He bought the car for his mother

She gave her his house keys

They brought a birthday present for me

 

Activity 1 Based on Personal Pronoun

Rewrite the following sentences in the best possible order, using correct personal pronouns. The personal pronouns in the sentences are underlined.

1. him has written all he papers

 

......................................................................................................................................................

2 Their ask David to see they before him leaves

 

......................................................................................................................................................

3 My mother and my teacher have given his and her blessings to mine marriage.

 

......................................................................................................................................................

4 My mother and teacher gave their blessings to me marriage.

 

......................................................................................................................................................

5 Neither Joseph nor Moses drove their car.

 

......................................................................................................................................................

6 Neither Joseph nor his brother drove his car

 

......................................................................................................................................................

7 Either David or Jackson will drive them car

 

......................................................................................................................................................

8 Either Jackson or his father will drive his car

 

......................................................................................................................................................

9 Jacob danced better than her

 

......................................................................................................................................................

10You spoke fluently than us

 

......................................................................................................................................................

11 Terfa generated persuasively worded arguments more of a rocket scientist that them

 

......................................................................................................................................................

Activity 2, based on personal pronouns

Complete the following sentences with the most suitable and appropriate personal pronouns. The personal pronouns in the sentences are underlined.

 

  1. If the possessive case of me is my/mine, what is the subject case is ………..................
  2. The subjective case of us is ………………….................................................................
  3. The subjective/nominative case of it is …………….......................................................
  4. The first person singular subjective personal pronoun is …………………..................
  5. The second person singular subjective/nominative person pronoun is …………...........
  6. The first person plural possessive personal pronoun is ………………………...............
  7. The second person plural possessive personal pronoun is …………………..................
  8. The third person singular masculine nominative personal pronoun is …………………
  9. The third person singular feminine nominative personal pronoun is ………..................
  10. The third person singular neuter nominative personal pronoun is ……..........................

 

Activity 2, Based on Personal Pronouns

Fill in the blank spaces the forms of personal pronouns as illustrated in a tabular form below.

Person

Singular number

Plural number

 

Nominative case

Possessive case

Objective case

Nomination case

Possessive case

Objective case

1st person

 

 

 

 

 

 

2nd person

 

 

 

 

 

 

3rd person

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masculine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feminine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neuter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

REPLACING NOUNS

Preamble

This chapter deals with what nouns entail and how they are replaced in utterances or grammatical sentences.

What is a Noun?

Traditional grammar classifies words into classes known as parts of speech or word classes. English language recognises eight parts of speech: the verb, the noun, the pronoun, the adjective, the adverb, the preposition, the conjunction, and the interjection. It is very important to realise that each part of speech explains not only what the word is, but also how the word is used. In fact, the same word can be a noun in one sentence and a verb or adjective in the next. The next few examples show how a word's part of speech can change from one sentence to the next based on the context of usage thus:

A (i) Books are made of ink, paper, and glue.

In sentence A (i), "books" is a noun, and is the subject of the sentence.

A (ii) Jacob waits patiently while Moses books the tickets.

While in sentence B (ii), "books" is a verb, and its subject is "Moses."

B (i) They walk down the street.

While in sentence B (i), "walk" is a verb, and its subject is the pronoun "They."

B (ii) The mail carrier stood on the walk.

In sentence B (ii), "walk" is a noun, which is part of a prepositional phrase describing where the mail carrier stood.

C (i) The town decided to build a new jail.

In sentence C (i), "jail" is a noun, which is the object of the infinitive phrase "to build."

C (ii) The sheriff told us that if we did not leave town immediately he would jail us.

While in sentence C (ii), "jail" is part of the compound verb "would jail."

D (i) They heard high pitched cries in the middle of the night.

In sentence D (i), "cries" is a noun acting as the direct object of the verb "heard."

D (ii) The baby cries all night long and all day long.

But here in sentence D (ii), "cries" is a verb that describes the actions of the subject of the sentence, the baby.

In the words of Edward Sapir “[o]ne of the glories of English simplicity is the possibility of using the same word as noun and verb. We speak, for instance, of 'having cut the meat' and of 'a cut of meat.' We not only 'kick a person,' but 'give him a kick” (7).Nouns are traditionally known to be names of persons, places, things, and ideas. But this meaning aspect of nouns remains rather vague--verbs, for example, may also be considered names of ideas--and the formal characteristics are often more reliable. Among the formal characteristics of English nouns are those they typically: a. may be definite in meaning by use of preceding the (the definite article), as in the book, the guy, the answer; b. may be made possessive by suffixing-'s, as in people's, Jane's, a politician’s; c. may be made negative by prefixing non-, as in nonbeliever, nonsense, non-union. These encumbrances make replacing now a serious challenge to students as they debate whether a word is functioning as a noun or as any other part of speech in a sentence.

Replacing Nouns

Nouns are often interpreted as names of persons, places or things. Hence when nouns occur in a sentence, additional references to them are made through the services of pronouns to replace them (nouns). We employ the services of pronouns to such instances to avoid monotonous repetition of nouns. Compare the following two sentences:

E (i) Mary slapped Moses and Moses said that that was the last time Mary would ever slap Moses; and

E (ii) Mary slapped Moses and he said that that was the last time she would ever slap him. Unlike sentence E (ii) which is grammatically correct, sentence E (i) monotonously repeats the nouns instead of replacing them with their appropriate personal pronouns.

It is important to emphasize that the choice of a pronoun to replace or substitute a noun depends, largely on:

1.  The relation of the noun to other words in the sentence, for example:

  1. The party was organised by Gabriel (him)
  2. Tomorrow is Jasmine’s birthday (her)
  3. The car belongs to Jennifer’s parents (them)

2.  The gender – male or female or something else other than a person, for example:

- Mary cooked the food (She)

- Moses ate the food (He)

- The cat licked the pot (It)

3. The case of the noun whether singular or plural, for example:

- The man came in rather hurriedly (He)

- The men came in smiling rather broadly (They)

- The room belongs to Moses, Jerry, and Meshach (them)

Activity (1) Based on Replacing Nouns

Instruction: Recast the following sentences and replace the nouns with their appropriate pronouns as done in chapter two:

1. The dog barked so loud that Jacob felt Jacob’s hair bristle at the back of Jacob’s head and set Jacob’s teeth on edge until Jacob kicked the dog violently and dropped the dog’s jaws

1._________   ________________________ ___________________

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

2. Joseph calls Joseph an outlaw and feels rules are meant to be broken until Joseph found Joseph’s neck in the hangman’s noose when Joseph broke into his principal’s house.

2. _________ ________________________ ___________________

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

Activity 2 Based on replacing Nouns

Instruction: Recast the following sentences and replace the nouns with the most suitable and appropriate pronouns

A. Jackson slapped Mercy

A. ______________________ ______________________________

B. The pig ran into the lunatic

B. ______________________ ______________________________

C. The car crashed into the building

C. ______________________ ______________________________

D. The jeep is Joseph’s

D ______________________ ______________________________

E. The jeep runs faster than Joseph’s parents

E._________ _______________________ ___________________

F. Mercy runs faster than Johnson

F. ______________________ ______________________________

G. David is taller than Janet

G. ______________________ ______________________________

H. Gabriel sings as much Gabriel dances

H. ______________________ ______________________________

I. The book summarises the deft of Terfa’s craft

I. __________ ____________ ______________________________

J. David reads as if David is going to live forever and lives as if David is going to die tomorrow

J. ______________________ ______________________________

 ______________________ ______________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

CHAPTER THREE

SYNONYMS AND ANTONYMS

It is almost nearly impossible for two words to have the same meaning though; synonyms are words thought to be similar in meaning. They can be words functioning or performing the same action or relation to the context to discussion or usage. Examples of synonyms are the words “pretty and “beautiful” “surprised” and “astounded”, “begin” and “commence” as in the following sentences:

(a)i Jasmine is very pretty (a)ii Jasmine is very beautiful

(b)i We shall begin work by next week (b)ii we shall commence work by next week. The word “pretty” in sentence (ai) means the same as “beautiful” in sentence (aii) the same can be said of “begin” in sentence (bi) and “commence” in (bii) we shall commence work by next week. The word “pretty” in sentence (ai) means the same as “beautiful” in sentences (aii), the same can be said of “begin” in sentence (bi) and “commence” in (bii).

 

In some instance, synonyms appear as any part of speech (such as verb, nouns, adverbs, adjective or prepositions), provides both words fall into the same word class or part of speech. Below are examples of synonyms as part of speech:

(a) Adverb “hurriedly” and speedily/quickly”, “shabbily”, and “clumsily”, “deliberately”, and “intentionally”, surprisingly” and “amazingly”

(b)Verb“leap” and “jump” “intrude” and meddle/invade” “go” and “leave”, “uphold”, and “maintain”, “buy”, and “purchase”.

 

It must be observed here that certain senses  of words or context; for instance, “man” in the sentence: “Maria has been asked to man the company” means lead, head, champion, oversee, which “man” in the sentence: “the Police have arrested the man made away with the principals car “ means a male-human adult in a similar development, “He  expired and the landlord kicked him out of the his house” means he was to renew his rent since the years he had paid have been used, hence “died” cannot be used as synonyms of expired in the two sentences.

 

ANTONYMS

Antonyms are words with opposite or nearly opposite meanings. The opposite of antonyms is synonyms. For instances: ‘quick’ and ‘slow’ ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ ‘good’ and ‘bad’ love’ and ‘hated’, ‘kind’ and ‘unkind’, ‘smart’ and ‘clumsy’ and ‘happy’ and ‘unhappy’, ‘hostile’, ‘friendly’, tasty’ ‘insipid’ ‘beautiful’, ‘ugly’, and ‘cold, ‘hot’, ‘fresh and ‘stale’.

 

 

ACTIVITY 1 BASED ON SYNONYMS

Instruction: Write down the synonyms of the following words or phrases

(a)Difficult(a) …………………(k) Mark out (k) ……………….

(b)Sweet(b) …………………(l) Worried(d) ………...……..

(c)non-plussed(c) ………………….(m) Shaken (m)…………..…..

(d)Arrogant(d) ………………….(n) Remarkable (n) ………...……..

(e) Imitation(e) ………………….(o) Delightful (o) ……………….

(f)Original(f) ……………………(p) Outstanding (p) ……………….

(g)Courage(g) ……………………(q) Cruel(q) ………………

(h)Put up with (h) …………………..(r) Grave(r) ……………….

(i)Exploit(i) …………………(s) Generous (s) ……………….

(j)Run into(j) …………………(t) Purifying(t) ………………..

 

Activity 2 based on antonyms

Instruction: Write out the antonyms of the following word(s) or phrases

(a)Excited (a) ………………….. (k) Original(k) ……………….

(b)Compensated (b) ……………… (l) Bitter(l) ………………..

(c)Acquitted (c) ……………… (m) Injurious(m) ………………

(d)Deny(d) ………………(n) visible(n) ……………….

(e)Agree (e) ………………….(o) Connected(o) ……………….

(f)Scaring (f) …………………..  (p) Incredible(p) ……………….

(g)Pleasing (g) …………………  (q) Faithful(q) ……………….

(h)Stupendous (h) ……………… (r) Obedient(r) ……………….

(i)Riddle(i)………………….(s) Generous(s) ……………….

(j)Professional(j) ……………… (t) Cruel(t) ………………..

_________________________________________________________________

CHAPTER FOUR

Grammatical Modifier

According to T. Avants and A. Benahnia, grammar is defined as “[a] set of rules that sets forth the correct standard of usage in a language. Roughly speaking, these rules dictate how we should say things in language. This includes agreement between words in relation to other constructions in a sentence” (57). Grammar can be described as a system of categories and a set of rules that determine how categories combine to form different aspect of meaning. It is the study of how meaningful elements called morphemes within a language are combined into utterances. A morpheme is the smallest unit of grammatical structure. John Lyons (1974:81) as quoted in Fromkin Victoria and Robert Rodman, observes that  “[m]orphemes on the other hand, are the ‘minimal units of grammatical analysis, the units of lowest rank out of which words, the units of next ‘higher’ rank are composed” (43).

It can be inferred from the above submission that, by morpheme, is implied the smallest indivisible meaningful unit of language. Derived from the Greek’s “morphe”, meaning “form”, the morpheme, as consented to by Akmajian et al. is “the basic parts of a complex word… the different building blocks that make it up…” (16). Fromkin and Rodman view morpheme as “the minimal linguistic sign, a grammatical unit in which there is an arbitrary union of a sound and a meaning which cannot be further analysed” (142). This idea of the morpheme expressed by Fromkin and Rodman heightens the assertion that every word, in every language, is a composition of one or more than one morpheme. This position is also consented to by Ndimele who refers to morphemes as “[t]he analysis of words into smaller meaningful units…” (51).

In English grammar, a modifier is an optional element in phrase structure or clause structure. A modifier qualifies (changes the meaning of) another element in the structure on which it is dependent. Typically, the modifier can be removed without affecting the grammar of the sentence. For example, in the English sentence: This is a blue bucket; the adjective blue is a modifier, modifying the noun bucket. Removal of the modifier would leave “This is a bucket”, which is grammatically correct and equivalent in structure to the original sentence.

Other terms used with a similar meaning are qualifier (the word qualify may be used in the same way as modify in this context), attribute, and adjunct. These concepts are often distinguished from complements and arguments, which may also be considered dependent on another element, but are considered an indispensable part of the structure. For example, in His face became red, the word red might be called a complement or argument of became, rather than a modifier or adjunct, since it cannot be omitted from the sentence.

Pre-modifiers and post-modifiers

Modifiers may come before or after the modified element – the head – depending on the type of modifier and the rules of syntax for the language in question. A modifier placed before the head is called a “pre-modifier”; one placed after the head is called a post-modifier. For example, in land mines, the word land is a “pre-modifier” of mines, whereas in the phrase mines in wartime, the phrase in wartime is a post-modifier of mines. A head may have a number of modifiers, and these may include both pre-modifiers and post-modifiers. For example:

  • That pretty slim lady from London whom we met

In this noun phrase, ‘lady’ is the “head”, pretty and slim are “pre-modifiers”, and from London and whom we met are “post-modifiers”. Notice that in English, simple adjectives are usually used as pre-modifiers, with occasional exceptions such as galore (which always appears after the noun) and the phrases time immemorial and court martial (the latter comes from French, where most adjectives are post-modifiers). Sometimes placement of the adjective after the noun entails a change of meaning: compare a responsible person and the person responsible, or the proper town (the appropriate town) and the town proper (the area of the town as properly defined).

It is sometimes possible for a modifier to be separated from its head by other words, as in The man came who you bumped into in the street yesterday, where the relative clause who...yesterday is separated from the word it modifies – man – by the word came. This type of situation is especially likely in languages with free word-order.

Types of modifiers

The two main types of modifiers are adjectives (and adjectival phrases and adjectival clauses), which modify nouns; and adverbs(and phrases and adverbial clauses), which modify other parts of speech, particularly verbs, adjectives and other adverbs, as well as whole phrases or clauses. (Not all adjectives and adverbs are necessarily modifiers, however; an adjective will normally be considered a modifier when used attributively, but not when used predicatively – compare the examples with the adjective red at the start of this article.)

Another type of modifier in English is the noun adjunct, which is a noun modifying another noun (or occasionally another part of speech). An example is land in the phrase land mines given above. At this juncture, it is important to give various examples of the above types of modifiers in English, below:

  1. It was [a nice car]. (adjective modifying a noun, in a noun phrase)
  2. [The speedily flowing waters] carried her away. (adjectival phrase, in this case a participial phrase, modifying a noun in a noun phrase)
  3. He is [the man with the puppy]. (adjectival phrase, in this case a prepositional phrase, modifying a noun in a noun phrase)
  4. I saw [the woman whom we met yesterday]. (adjectival clause, in this case a relative clause, modifying a noun in a noun phrase)
  5. Her admission letter is in [the faculty office]. (noun adjunct modifying a noun in a noun phrase)
  6. [James has been asked to put it gently in the drawer]. (adverb in verb phrase)
  7. Jeremy was [very rough]. (adverb in adjective phrase)
  8. The driver set it down [very harshly]. (adverb in adverb phrase)
  9. [Even more] people were there. (adverb modifying a determiner)
  10. The notorious cat ran [right up the tree]. (adverb modifying a prepositional phrase)
  11. [Only the baby] was saved from the car crash. (adverb modifying a noun phrase)

In some cases, noun phrases or quantifiers can act as modifiers:

  1. [A few more] workers are needed. (quantifier modifying a determiner)
  2. She's [two inches taller than her sister]. (noun phrase modifying an adjective)

Ambiguous and dangling modifiers

Sometimes it is not clear which element of the sentence a modifier is intended to modify. In many cases this is not important, but in some cases it can lead to genuine ambiguity. For example:

  1. He painted her sitting on the step.
  2. She saw the woman with the telescope
  3. He beat the man with the stick
  4. Visiting The chicken is ready to eat
  5. friends can be boring

In sentence 1, the participial phrase sitting on the step may be intended to modify her (meaning that the painting's subject was sitting on the step), or it may be intended to modify the verb phrase painted her or the whole clause he painted her (or just he), meaning in effect that it was the painter who was sitting on the step. Again, in sentence 2, it is obvious that two meanings can be drawn thereof: firstly, the sentence could mean that the She saw the woman through the lenses or eyes of a telescope or she saw a woman that was carrying a telescope. The interpretation is possible for all the five sentences above, and sadly, many a student, falls victim of such dangling and ambiguous sentence compositions.

Activity 1 Based on Grammatical Modifier

Instruction: Read the following questions carefully and use the ideas discussed above to answer them. In any event where you are confused about the intent of a question, revisit the chapter for a frame of reference and full grasp of the question’s demands; and the teacher should guide the students where necessary.

1 What is Grammar?

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

2 What is a Modifier?

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

  1. Identify and write out the modifiers in the following sentences

A Jacob swiftly picks up the falling books__________________________________

B Jennifer smugly smiled at the limping stranger____________________________

C The President vehemently refused to endorse his signature`__________________________

  1. Rewrite the above sentences, that is, sentence A – C without the modifiers:

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

Activity 3 is Based on Ambiguous and Dangling Modifiers

Instruction: Read carefully and resolve the ambiguity, if any, in the following sentences:

  1. He painted her sitting on the step.
  2. She saw the woman with the telescope
  3. He beat the man with the stick
  4. Visiting friends can be boring
  5. The chicken is ready to eat

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

_________ ________________________ ___________________ _____

GHAPTER FIVE

Grammatical Concord

Preamble

So far we have been discussing central issues mandatory to mastering the use of English. This chapter maintains that communication is achieved primarily through speech or writing.  To achieve proficiency in communication, whether oral or written the knowledge of such grammatical elements as concord also known as subject-verb agreement, active or passive structure, and direct or indirect structures, is necessary.  Consequently, the major thrust of this chapter is to examine the psychology of grammatical concord and bring out the necessary nuances that relate to it.

Introduction

It will be wise to say that the concept of grammatical concord is full of rules and exceptions, which means that anyone who intends to master its usage must be ready and willing to tolerate same. Obviously, this rules are undeniably slippery, hence mastering them require tremendous patience and evaluation. This explains why Choy and Clark posit that “[e]rrors in subject-verb agreement are among the most common grammatical mistakes” (45). It is linguistically emphasized that a sentence should contain a subject and a verb; and sometimes the nightmare lies in separating the former from the latter. We may appreciate this position if we consider the following sentences:

  1. The meaning between the lines is that we need to leave before Friday. 
  2.  The meaning between the lines are that we need to finish before Friday.

 Looking at the sentences above, the conflict that might arise will be from our inability to determine, correctly what the subject of the sentence is. The confusion here is to look at the word in front of the verb – the plurallines” and choose the verb that agrees with it – the pluralare”. This is wrong. The subject of the sentence is not “lines”, rather, it’s “message”. So, because the subject, “message”, is singular, we use the singular verb “is”. The phrase “between the lines” is a prepositional phrase (starting with a preposition), which is why it’s not the subject of the sentence. With this little illustration, we can now approach grammatical concord with readiness and composure.

Concord

For the sake of simplicity, we may start by saying concord is the grammatical agreement between two parts of a sentence; that is when the subject of a sentence agrees with the verb of a sentence. What this means is that if the subject of the sentence is singular, the verb must be singular. If the subject of a sentence is plural, the verb must be plural. We can demonstrate this with illustrating examples thus:

  1. The book is on the table
  2. The books are on the table
  3. The studio opens at eight o’clock in the evening
  4. The studios open at eight o’clock in the evening

In sentence (1), the subject is book and is singular, and so is the verb is, also singular. In sentence (2), the subject is books and is plural, and so is the verb are, also plural. Again, in sentence (3), the subject is studio and is singular, and so is the verb opens, also singular; while in sentence (4), the word studios is plural and is plural, and so is the verb open, also plural.

According to Murthy, “[w]hen the subject is in the third person and singular number the verb in the present tense takes ‘s’ or ‘es’. Ex: Victoria goes to the office at ten in the morning. Uzoma teaches English at the college” (109).

At this juncture, we will attempt to examine the rules of English grammatical concord. The, rules, in particular order, are discussed below:

Subject and Verb Agreement – this is the agreement or alignment between the subject – the name of the person or thing spoken about in the sentence – and the predicator or verbal element – the verb in what is said about the subject – in  a sentence. Based on this, we can now say that the rule here implies that:

(1A)When the subject is singular, the verb should be singular, as in: Jacob is a writer.

(1B)When the subject is plural, the verb too is expected to be plural, as in: They are writers.

It is important to observe that if the verb is in the past tense, it remains unchanged in spite of the differences in subject, be it singular or plural, as in the examples: He smiled broadly. They smiled broadly.

Using phrases such as “a – pair- of”, or “one of”, “each or everyone”, “everyone of”, “either or”, neither nor”

When the phrase “a – pair – of”, “one of”, is used as a subject, it is treated as singular and it attracts a singular verb, as in:

(2a) A pair of scissors is on the bonnet.

(2b) One of my sisters has gone to United Kingdom.

(2c) Each lecturer and student has the right to speak

(2d) Every speaker and listener has the knowledge to share.

There is also a grammatical concord known as rule of proximity. The rule of proximity states that ‘when there is a list of nouns or pronouns acting as the subject in an “or” a “nor”, in an “or” a “nor” it is the nearest noun or pronoun to the position of the verb that will determine the choice of the verb, as in the example:

(3a)  If the man loses the case, the witnesses, his attorneys or the judge is to blame.

(3b)  If the man loses the case, the judge, his witnesses or his attorneys are to blame.

For a noun which stands for many units constituting a single word known as collective noun, such as congregation, audience, which stands for worshippers and listeners respectively, the rule of grammatical concord demands that they take singular verb.  Therefore, a collective noun functioning as the subject of a sentence usually takes a singular verb, as in the example: 

(4a) The congregation is engrossed in the sermon. The group is five years old. 

(4b) The audience is moved by the eulogy. Their band is superbly exceptional.

It is important to note here that, in notional terms a collective noun functioning as the subject of a sentence may take a plural verb, as shown in the example thus: 

(5a) The group perform once in a week.

(5b) The military are now battle ready to fight boko haram.

In a similar development, when “more than” is used in the position of the subject, the word that comes after it determines whether the verb to be used will be singular or plural. A case in point can be seen in the example thus:

(6a) More than one person knows the reason the meeting was cancelled.

(6b) More than ten people know the reason the meeting was cancelled.

It is also the rule of grammatical concord that indefinite pronouns such as everyone, everything, everybody, nobody, anyone, someone, somebody, something, etc. always attract singular verbs, as in the illustrating examples:

(7a) Everyone is entitled to his opinion.

(7b) Everything I have done is real.

(7c) Everybody hates Chris.

(7d) Nobody likes humiliation

(7e) Anyone who loves you will tell you the truth

(7f) Somebody is going to hurt really bad.

(7g) Someone wants to take your car.

It is imperative to say that these are not all the rules of grammatical concord; perhaps, there are some that this chapter does not cover since it is an introductory book.

______________________________________________

CHAPTER SIX

ACTIVE VOICE AND PASSIVE VOICE

In English language, sentences are expressed in voices which reveal whether the subject of the sentence performs the action. The subject of a sentence is that which either performs the action of the sentence or is acted upon by the object of the sentence. When a subject performs the action of the sentence, it is called Active Subject and when it is acted upon, it is called Passive Subject. This can be demonstrated in the following examples:

  1. Active Subject: John kicked the dog
  2. Passive Subject: John has been beaten by the dog.

It is clear in the above examples that differences do exist between the active and the passive voice. In sentence 1, John, who is the subject of the sentence, performs the action of kicking the dog; while in sentence 2, John, who, though, is the subject of the sentence, passively allows himself to be acted upon by the object of the sentence – dog.

When a sentence is rendered in the Active Voice, the subject does the action, usually on a direct object, as in the example: I ate fried cheeps and saddens. We have two types of object – Direct and Indirect Objects. This is shown in this example: John gave Jennifer the book. In the example, the two objects – Jennifer and book are italicised, while the Direct Object – book is underlined. Additional examples of Active sentences (Active Voice) are:

A Johnson kicked Sampson in the gut.

B The boy flunked the exam.

C The cub pranced through its den.

D The patient shuffled around the sidewalk.

The Passive Voice involves a construction or sentence where the subject is acted on, as opposed to performing the action like in an active sentence. The following examples are rendered in the passive voice:

A Sampson has been kicked in the gut by Johnson.

B The exam has been flunked by the boy.

C The den has been pranced through by the cub.

As easy as it may appear in the above examples, the passive voice generates serious problems with punctuation and grammar. In view of this, it is important to state the steps used in changing active voice sentence to passive voice sentences. These steps are:

1 change the direct object to subject, as in: I ate some rice will become – some rice was eaten by me

2 add auxiliary verb, as in: I am packing books will become Books are being packed by me

3 bring down the main verb and change to perfect tense. You can also add a by-phrase – the subject of the active voice becomes the object of the preposition in the passive. The sentence: “I was teaching the classes”, is changed to – “The classes were being taught by me”. Note that since the main verb was progressive, the auxiliary verb I added is, and must be progressive, as well. What’s more, I changed the auxiliary verb “was” from the active sentence to “were” in the passive sentence, because the auxiliary verb must agree in grammatical number with the subject of the sentence. Since the subject “Classes” is plural, the auxiliary verb must be plural.

Look critically at the sentences below and observe how the active Voice is changed to Passive Voice:

Active Voice: The men played the football.

Passive Voice: Football was played by the men.

Active Voice: The Police was flying helicopters over the base in the morning.

Passive Voice: Helicopters were being flown by the Police over the base in the morning.

Active Voice: The jury decided the fate of the accused murderers.

Passive Voice: The fate of the accused murderers was decided by the jury

Active Voice: The teacher modelled his class after what he has taught.

Passive Voice: The class was modelled by the teacher after what he was taught

Active Voice: The dog ripped open the sack when he smelled the meat.

Passive Voice: The sack was ripped open by the dog when he smelled the meat.

Active Voice: The group of boys taunted the girls walking across the yard.

Passive Voice: The girls walking across the yard were taunted by the group of boys.

 

Activity 1 Based on Active and Passive Voice

Instruction: Taking a careful clue from the above examples, change the following sentences from Active Voice to Passive Voice, paying meticulous attention as some may have no change, that is, remain as both active and passive, as in this example: Active Voice – Eating an apple is a noisy experience, and Passive Voice – Eating an apple is a noisy experience.

1. Active Voice: To sing a song helps the heart.

1. Passive Voice: _________  _________________________________________

2. Active Voice: The teacher perused the headlines for any word grammar

2. Passive Voice: _________  _________________________________________

3. Active Voice: The rotten apple stank

3. Passive Voice: _________  _________________________________________

4. Active Voice: The car’s brakes squeaked loudly as the driver applied them

4. Passive Voice: _________  _________________________________________

5. Active Voice: The computer whirred when he turned it on

5. Passive Voice: _________  _________________________________________

6. Active Voice: The quest teacher pounded the desk in stark frustration

6. Passive Voice: _________  _________________________________________

7. Active Voice: The ball hit the backboard and made a noise

7. Passive Voice: _________  _________________________________________

8. Active Voice: The water made a trickling sound as it ran down the drain

8. Passive Voice: _________  _________________________________________

9. Active Voice: Singing achieves merriment in the heart

9. Passive Voice: _________  _________________________________________

10. Active Voice: Miriam tossed the banana pills into the receptacle

10. Passive Voice: ___________________________ _______________________

Activity 2 Still Based on Active Voice and Passive Voice

Instruction: Adhering to the grammatical rule of concord and verb agreement, write sentences in the Active Voice and change them to the Passive Voice in the spaces provided below:

Active voice:______________ ______________________________

Passive voice:  ______________________ ______________________

Active voice:______________ ______________________________

Passive voice:  ______________________ ______________________

Active voice:______________ ______________________________

Passive voice:  ______________________ ______________________

Active voice:______________ ______________________________

Passive voice:  ______________________ ______________________

Active voice:______________ ______________________________

Passive voice:  ______________________ ______________________

Active voice:______________ ______________________________

Passive voice:  ______________________ ______________________

Active voice:______________ ______________________________

Passive voice:  ______________________ ______________________

Active voice:______________ ______________________________

Passive voice:  ______________________ ______________________

Active voice:______________ ______________________________

Passive voice:  ______________________ ______________________

Active voice:______________ ______________________________

Passive voice:  ______________________ ______________________

 

WORKS CITED

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Choy Penelope, and Dorothy Goldbart Clark. Basic Grammar and Usage (8th Edition). Boston: Wadsworth, 2002. Print.

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Crystal, David. What Is Linguistics? London: Edward Arnold, 1974. Print.

Freidin Robert and Howard Lasnik eds. Syntax: Critical Concepts in Linguistics. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.

Graffi, Giorgio. 200 Years of Syntax: A Critical Survey. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2001. Print.

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McArthur, Tom (ed.)  The Oxford Companion To The English Language, New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Print.

Meshach Terfa Zayol. The Local Champion and Other Short Stories. Kaduna: Ralph Printing

Press, 2012. Print. 

Murthy, J. D. Contemporary English Grammar. Lagos: Book Palace, 1998. Print.

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Ndimele, Ozo-mekuri. Morphology and Syntax. Port Harcourt: Emhal Printing & Publishing, 1999. Print.

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Sapir, Edward. Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech 1939.Availablefromhttp/www.booksshouldbefree.com/book/language-by-Edward-Sapir 9/06/2014.

Ugande, Gabriel. Introduction to Mass Communication Skills.Makurdi: Jahaap, 2005. Print.

University Press, 2005. Print.

 



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