UNIT 26 THE EXPRESSION OF DOUBT, CONDITION, HYPOTHESIS AND CONTRAST. OUTLINE 1.
INTRODUCTION. 1.1. Aims of the unit. 1.2. Notes on bibliography.
A LINGUISTIC FRAMEWORK FOR THE NOTIONS OF DOUBT, CONDITION, HYPOTHESIS AND CONTRAST. 2.1. Linguistic levels involved. 2.2. On defin ing doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast: what, how and why. 2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes.
A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE NOTIONS OF DOUBT, CONDITION, HYPOTHESIS AND CONTRAST. 3.1. Phrase, sentence and clause structure. 3.2. Simple, comp lex and compound sentence. 3.3. Adverbial clauses: main types. 3.3.1. Syntactic classification. 3.3.2. Semantic classification.
THE EXPRESSION OF DOUBT. 4.1. Definition. 4.2. Main grammatical categories involved. 4.2.1. Verbs. 18.104.22.168. Lexical verbs. 22.214.171.124. Auxiliary verbs. 4.2.2. Nouns. 4.2.3. Adjectives. 4.2.4. Adverbs. 4.3. Specific syntactic constructions. THE EXPRESSION OF CONDITION AND HYPOTHESIS. 5.1. Definition: direct vs. indirect conditions. 5.2. Main types of conditionals. 5.2.1. Common points to remember. 5.2.2. The first type: open conditional. 5.2.3. The second type: hypothetical conditional. 5.2.4. The third type: past hypothetical conditional. 5.3. Other conditional types. THE EXPRESSION OF CONTRAST . 6.1. Definition. 6.2. Main grammatical categories involved. 6.2.1. Verbs. 6.2.2. Nouns. 6.2.3. Adjectives. 6.2.4. Adverbs. 6.2.5. Conjunctions. 6.2.6. Prepositions.
6.3. Specific syntactic constructions. 7. 8. 9.
EDUCATIONAL IM PLICATIONS. CONCLUSION. BIBLIOGRAPHY.
1. INTRODUCTION. 1.1. Aims of the unit. Unit 26 is primarily aimed to examine in English the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast in terms of their main structural features regarding form, function and main uses in order to provide a relevant and detailed account of this issue. In doing so, the study will be divided into eight main chapters. Thus, Chapter 2 provides a linguistic framework for the notions of the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast (namely achieved by means of adverbial clauses and other grammatical structures) by answering questions such as, first, which linguistic levels are involved in their description within sentence structure; second, what they describe and how; and third, which grammar categories are involved in its description at a functional level.
Once we have set up these notions within a linguistic framework, we shall continue on offering the reader in Chapter 3 a general introduction to the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast pose within the framework of sentence structure regarding key concepts which are closely related to them and which prove to be essential in our analysis so as to get a relevant and overall view of the whole unit.
Thus, we shall start by revising some important notions which are closely related to the description of sentence structures: for instance, (1) the difference between phrase, clause and sentence and (2) the difference between simple, complex and compound sentences since the present four notions are drawn from adverbial clauses which may be complex or compound; and (3) a brief typology of adverbs in terms of grammar, syntax and semantics which shall lead us to the syntactic classification of adverbial phrases (disjuncts, conjuncts, subjuncts and adjuncts) and semantic types of adverbs (in particular, contingency and modality.) out of which we shall obtain the four main notions under consideration (modality: doubt; contingency: condition, hypothesis, contrast). Chapters 4, 5 and 6 will offer an individual analysis of each item regarding (1) definit ion of the term; (2) a typology (if necessary); (3) a linguistic analysis on their structural features, that is, offering an account of the main grammatical categories and other means which express these notions, making comments on morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Chapter
7 provides then an educational framework for their main structural features within our current school curriculum and Chapter 8 draws on a summary of all the points involved in this study. Finally, in Chapter 9 bibliography will be listed in alphabetical order.
1.2. Notes on bibliography. In order to offer an insightful analysis and survey on the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast at sentence level in English, we shall deal with the most relevant works in the field, both old and current, and in particular, influential grammar books which have assisted for years students of English as a foreign language in the ir study of grammar. For instance, a theoretical framework is namely drawn from the field of sentence analysis, that is, from the work of Flor Aarts and Jan Aarts (University of Nijmegen, Holland) in English Syntactic Structures (1988), whose material has been tested in the classroom and developed over a number of years; also, another essential work is that of Rodney Huddleston, English Grammar, An Outline (1988). Other classic references which offer an account of the most important and central grammatical constructions and categories in English regarding the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast at sentence level, are Quirk & Greenbaum, A University Grammar of English (1973); Thomson & Martinet, A Practical English Grammar (1986); and Greenbaum & Quirk, A Student’s Grammar of the English Language (1990). More current approaches to notional grammar are David Bolton and Noel Goodey, Grammar Practice in Context (1997); John Eastwood, Oxford Practice in Grammar (1999); Sidney Greenbaum, The Oxford Reference Grammar (2000); Gerald Nelson, English: An Essential Grammar (2001); Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (2002); and. Angela Downing and Philip Locke, A University Course in English Grammar (2002).
A LINGUISTIC FRAMEWORK FOR THE NOTIONS OF DOUBT, CONDITION, HYPOTHESIS AND CONTRAST.
Before describing in detail the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast at sentence level in English, it is relevant to establish first a linguistic framework for these notions, since they must be described in grammatical terms. In fact, this introductory chapter aims at answering questions such as (1) where these notions are to be found within the linguistic level, (2) what they describe, how and why; and (3) which grammar categories are involved in their description at a functional level.
2.1. Linguistic levels involved. In order to offer a linguistic description of the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast at sentence level, we must confine it to particular levels of analysis so as to focus our attention on this particular aspect of language. Yet, although there is no consensus of opinion on the number of levels to be distinguished, the usual description of a language comprises four major components: phonology, grammar, lexicon, and semantics, out of which we get five major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic, lexical, and semantic (Huddleston, 1988). However, we shall include here the field of pragmatics within our analysis since it is a central element so as to fully understand the items to be described. First, the phonology describes the sound level, that is, consonants, vowels, stress, intonation, and so on. For our purposes, the sound level is described in terms of stress, rhythm, tone, pauses and intonation within the sentence structure may help distinguish between the different clauses under study, for instance, the stress on particular subordinators (i.e. provided that, although, probably, may, etc). Secondly, since the two most basic units of grammar are the word and the sentence, the component of grammar involves the morphological level where we can express doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast by means of different choices within grammatical constructions (i.e. probably (adverb), supposing/given that... (non-finite forms), without (preposition), on condition that/in case (prepositional phrases based on nouns), and even the choice between two similar forms (i.e. If I
were/was rich, I would buy a car), the use of modal auxiliary verbs (i.e. If you phone him, he may come) and even the use of punctuation, among many others (commas, exclamation marks). Thirdly , the lexicon or lexical level is closely related to morphology since both list vocabulary items depending on our choice of different grammatical categories, for instance, nouns (i.e. in case, on condition that, prepositional phrases (i.e. in spite of, as long as); conjunctions (i.e. but, although, unless) and so on. Therefore, lexis deals with the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast through the use of adverbial phrases or other means such as other formal realizations of these notions (i.e. a noun phrase, a verbless clause, a finite clause, etc).
Next, semantics deals with the semantic roles of an adverbial element in clause structure apart from their syntactic roles as subject, verb, object or complement, where syntactic and morphological levels do not tell the difference (i.e. alternative conditional-concessive clauses: ‘Whether Martin apologizes or not, I won’t invite him again’ where the conditional meaning of ‘if’ is combined with the disjunctive meaning of ‘either...or’). The expression of doubt is to be namely found within the category of full and auxiliary verbs (primary and modal) and other grammatical realizations; condition and contrast are embedded in the semantic role of ‘contingency’ which may include: cause, reason, purpose, result, condition and concession (Quirk et al. 1990). The notion of hypothesis is to be included within that of condition, since it is part of it. Similarly, from a functional approach, we must bear in mind the prominence of pragmatics in speech acts when dealing with ‘how to say things in English’, that is, taking into account the speaker’s attitude and the context where the sentence is uttered, where meaning and the speaker’s attitude are essential elements in communicative exchanges (oral, written, paralinguistic). For our purposes, it is an essential level since the speaker’s attitude may convey ‘doubt’, ‘condition’, ‘hypothesis’ and ‘contrast’. Finally, the syntactic level describes the way words are placed in the sentence and shall help us locate the notions under study by (1) specifying the difference between phrase, sentence and clause; (2) establishing a grammatical typology of sentences (simple, complex and compound) since adverbial clauses are namely found in the last one; and therefore (3) by classifying clauses according to their realizations into other grammatical categories, syntactic (disjuncts, conjuncts, subjuncts and adjuncts) and semantic types (on expressing uncertainty and probability, real/unreal/impossible conditions and contrastive relations).
2.2. On defining doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast: what, how and why. On defining these notions, we must establish internal links between (1) their linguistic description, that is, what they represent in terms of morphology, phonology and lexis and how they are represented, both grammatically (different grammatical categories: adverbs, nouns, prepositions, etc) and syntactically (the types of sentences in which they are embedded) (2) and their function within the sentence at a semantic and pragmatic level, that is, why they are used by the speaker and what kind of relations are established between two clauses. When answering the question of what they represent in linguistic terms, we deal with the morphology and phonology of their elements within the phrase structure at sentence level (i.e. pauses, stress, rhythm, tone and intonation in nouns, adverbs or prepositions ) whereas the how they are represented refers to the different grammatical categories (i.e. conjunctions, nouns, prepositions, adverbs) and syntactic types of sentences (or clauses) in which they are embedded.
Following Traditional Grammar guidelines, the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast is namely given by the grammatical category of adverbs, and therefore, adverbial phrases which are classified according to their main semantic roles: space (position, direction, goal, source, distance), time (position, forward and backward position, relationship in time), process (manner, means, instrument, and agency), respect, degree (or quantity) (emphasizers, amplifiers, downtoners), doubt (relative adverbs: where, when, why) and finally, for our purposes, the notions of (1) contingency where we find the relations of cause, reason, purpose, result, condition and concession and (2) modality, by means of which the truth value of a sentence can be changed by the use of adverbials or modal auxiliaries (may not). The hypothesis expression is conveyed within the conditional guidelines, since it is part of it (third conditional: hypothetical situations). Moreover, the former three notions are also classified according to their syntactic function in conditional, hypothetical, and concessive clauses, which are embedded under the category of contingency clauses as conjuncts, disjuncts and adjuncts whereas the expression of doubt is mainly achieved by means of modal auxiliaries (Quirk & Greenbaum, 1973). Hence at a pragmatic level, their combinations describe different situations, such as ‘uncertain’ statements (He may not be at home by now); ‘conditions’ put forward by the speaker which refer to facts, scientific statements or true events (i.e. Water boils 100ºC/Dogs hate cats); ‘hypothesis’ on certain conditions (i.e. If I had
been here on time, nothing would have happened); and finally, ‘contrasts’ or ‘opposite views’ between ideas, facts or situations (i.e. He is so kind whereas his brother is really mean).
2.3. Grammar categories involved: open vs. closed classes. In order to confine the notions of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast to particular grammatical categories, we must review first the difference between open and closed classes. Yet, grammar categories in English can be divided into two major sets called open and closed classes. The open classes are verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs, and are said to be unrestricted since they allow the addition of new members to their membership, whereas the closed classes are the rest: prepositions, conjunctions, articles (definite and indefinite ), numerals, pronouns, quantifiers and interjections, which belong to a restricted class since they do not allow the creation of new members.
Then, as we can see, when expressing doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast we mainly deal wth adverbs (and therefore, adverbial clauses) which, taken to sentence level, may be substituted by other grammatical categories, in particular, prepositional phrases, conjunctions, noun phrases and specific syntactic structures. The classification of phrases reflects an established syntactic order which is found for all four of the open word classes (i.e. verb, noun, adjective, and adverb) where it is very often possible to replace open classes by an equivalent expression of another class (i.e. noun, adjective, preposition or another adverb), and also closed classes (i.e. prepositions, conjunctions, quantifiers) as we shall see later. Yet, as we shall see, these four notions shall deal with both classes.
A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE NOTIONS OF DOUBT, CONDITION, HYPOTHESIS AND CONTRAST.
Once we have set up a linguistic framework, we shall continue on offering the reader a general introduction to these four notions regarding some previous considerations which prove to be relevant in our analysis in subsequent chapters. Thus, we shall start by revising some important notions which are closely related to the description of sentence structures: for instance, (1) the difference between phrase, clause and sentence since these three notions may lead us to misunderstandings; (2) the difference between simple, complex and compound sentences; and (3) a brief typology of adverbs following syntactic and semantic guidelines within adverbial clauses in order to locate the notions of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast, which will be fully described in the subsequent chapters.
3.1. Phrase, sentence and clause structure. We refer to the distinction between phrase, sentence and clause structure at a functional level where they will function first, in terms of single units of syntactic description within the structure of the phrase (noun phrase, adjective phrase, verb phrase, etc) and second, in terms of larger units as part of the structure of the sentence (subject and predicate) or embedded in the sentence structure, that is, clauses (subordinate). Following Aarts (1988), these larger structures are, apart form the morpheme and the word, “two ma jor units of grammatical description”. But let us examine their main differences. First, the phrase structure is defined as a constituent which can be identified on the basis of the word class membership of at least one of its constituent words which is called the ‘head’ of the phrase (i.e. adverbial phrase). Note that the other elements show a relation of dependency or subordination to the head (in noun phrases we find: determiners which are divided into pre-centralpost determiners and modifiers: pre or post modifiers) and usually determine the type of clause they are introducing by their own meaning (although: concessive; in case: conditional, etc). Second, the sentence is actually identifiable on the basis of the relations holding among its immediate constituents (subject, predicate, direct/indirect object, complement, adverbial, and so on). It is the largest unit of grammatical description and that it does not function in the structure of a
unit higher than itself, we are ready to understand the duality sentence vs. clause by means of two further possibilities. Hence, when sentences are embedded in the structure of other sentences or in the structure of phrases we call them ‘clauses’, which usually corresponds to the notions of subordination (or embedding) and coordination. Note that clauses can have other clauses embedded in them, as in ‘That she is rich is obvious’ or ‘The problem is that they have no money left’.
3.2. Simple, complex and compound sentences.
Up to this point, we shall approach the notion of sentence regarding the established typology between simple, complex and coumpound sentences since quite often, the sentence has been described as an indeterminate unit in the sense that it is difficult to establish where one sentence ends and another begins. Simple sentences can be defined as “a sentence in which none of the functions are realized by a clause” (Aarts, 1988), that is, a simple sentence does not contain an embedded (or subordinate) sentence as realization of one of its functions (i.e. He likes science fiction films). In addition, a simple sentence is always an independent sentence which can occur on its own (i.e. John is a bachelor vs. He says that John is a bachelor ). On the other hand, the complex sentence is defined as “those sentences in which one or more sentence functions are realized by a clause (finite or non-finite)” (Aarts, 1988). Then a complex sentence (or a clause) may contain one or more clauses in a relationship of subordination (i.e. I wonder if you would tell me where my keys are). This type of clauses can, in turn, contain more deeply embedded clauses (i.e. He went out although I begged him not to leave). Hence clauses can be classified in two ways. First, from a structural point of view by distinguishing three types: finite clauses (i.e. If we go, we’ll phone you); non-finite clauses (i.e. Supposing that you want to go, just phone us); and verbless clauses (i.e. A heavy smoker, David did not give up smoking). Secondly, in terms of the functions they play in the structure of the sentence, for our purposes, as adverbial clauses (i.e. Without the support of my Department, it would have been impossible to do it). As we shall see later, we shall namely deal with this type for our study.
Finally, following Aarts (1988), compound sentences are defined as “a sentence in which two or more sentences (called conjoin ts) have been coordinated”. Note that each of the conjoins is independents since there is no question of embedding. Thus, a compound sentence may consist of (1) two (or more) simple sentences (i.e.Oil is now more expensive and that will affect our economy); (2) a combination of simple and complex sentences (i.e. If he believes that, he must be mad); and (3) two (or more) complex sentences (i.e. He must believe what I say about the case and that is what matters now).
3.3. Adverbial clauses: main types.
Since the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast is to be realized by means of adverbs, we have to deal first with the different types of adverbs and therefore, the typology of adverbial phrases and clauses which are derived from this grammatical category. Moreover, we must bear in mind that these four notions under study are also drawn from other grammatical categories related to it, such as prepositions, adjectives, nouns and other grammatical structures like periphrastic phrases, idiomatic expressions or verbless sentences, for instance, adverbs (probably; despite; on condition that; while), prepositions (without, but for) and nouns (believe, may, condition, case) apart from other structures such as fin ite, non finite clauses, inversion processes and so on.
Adverbs can also be classified according to their main functions whereby we may find for our purposes two main types: (1) the syntactic function, which is related to the structure and position of adverbial phrases at the sentence level; and (2) the semantic function, which is related to intrinsic aspects of adverbs since the intended meaning is usually indicated by the introductory adjunct, conjunct or disjunct. We shall follow five main figures in this field in order to develop this section, thus Quirk & Greenbaum (1973), Thomson & Martinet (1986), Huddleston (1988), Aarts (1988), and Quirk et al. (1990).
3.3.1. Syntactic classification. Regarding the syntactic function, adverbs, as seen, play their role within a larger linguistic structure in order to modify verbs, adjectives, and nouns by means of other categories as well. Consequently,
both function and word class are relevant for our present purposes and we shall examine the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast through the notion of adverbial phrase, an essential element in syntactic analysis. An adverbial phrase is a constituent which can be identified on the basis of the word class membership of adverbs, in this particular case, the relationship it holds among its immediate constituents is referred to as sentence level. Following Quirk et al. (1990), in terms of their grammatical functions, adverbs fall into four main categories: disjuncts, conjuncts, subjuncts and adjuncts, which later on will lead us to the semantic classification of adjuncts.
Briefly, we can make a further distinction among them, in which disjuncts and conjuncts have a peripheral relation in the sentence vs. subjuncts and adjuncts which are relatively more integrated within the structure of the clause. Note that although subjuncts have a subordinate and parenthetic role in comparison with adjuncts, they lack the grammatical parity with other sentence elements and therefore we shall not include them in our study. Thus, syntactically, disjuncts have a peripheral relation in the sentence, being somewhat detached from and superordinate to the rest of the sentence. We identify them because most of them are prepositional phrases or clauses which express the speaker’s authority for, or comment on, the accompanying clause since they function as ‘comment’ words and are used to express consequence (i.e. If I may say so without giving you offence, I think your writing is immature). Conjuncts have a peripheral relation in the sentence, being somewhat detached from and superordinate to the rest of the sentence. We identify them because they serve to conjoin two utterances or parts of an utterance, and they do so by expressing at the same time the semantic rela tionship obtaining between them, for instance, contrastive (reformulatory –in other words -; antithetic –instead-; concessive –still-). Our four notions are commonly introduced by the conjunctions (or subordinators) “although”, “if/unless” or “still+comma” as in “My age is against me: still, it’s worth a try” or “Although I look older, it’s worth a try”. And finally, adjuncts function as constituents of a clause or sentence by means of finite and non finite claus es. Adjuncts, more than other adverbials, have grammatical properties resembling the sentence elements subject, complement and object and as such, can be the focus of a cleft sentence (i.e. Supposing your car breaks down at midnight, can you mend it yourself?).
3.3.3. Semantic classification. Following Aarts (1988), the syntactic classification brings about the semantic function. As stated before, conjuncts function as the connecting link between the sentence in which they occur and the preceding context. Semantically, they may express listing (in the first place, secondly; furthermore, moreover), summative (therefore, in sum, to sum up), appositive (for example, that is, i.e., specifically, in particular), resultive (as a result, in consequence), inferential (in that case, then ), transitional references (by the way, now; meanwhile, eventually ); and, for our purposes, contrastive (better; on the contrary, on the other hand; however, nevertheless, yet),
Disjuncts express an evaluation of what is being said either with respect to the form of the communication or to its meaning. They usually function as ‘comment’ words, whereby they provide the speaker’s comment on the content or form of the utterance (i.e. If I may say so you do not look good today). Semantically speaking, the semantic roles of disjuncts fall under two main headings: manner and modality, and respect. Regarding modality, we find the nuances of emphasis, restriction and approximation. It is the latter one which brings about the notion of ‘probabity’ or ‘uncertainty’ (as well as modal auxiliaries), for instance, “They are probably going to emigrate”. On the other hand, adjuncts add extra information to the action by means of descriptions about place (at the station), time (yesterday morning), manner (with patience/in jeans), means (by bike), instrument (with a fork ) or, for our purposes, contingency, with respect to condition (i.e. If he trains everyday, he will get fit very soon) and concession (i.e. Though he trains everyday, he doesn’t get fit). Once we have set up a general introduction on these notions and we have locate them in the linguistic field, we are ready to analyse them in more detail in subsequent chapters. So, in general, we shall approach these notions in terms of (1) definition, (2) grammar categories involved, (3) use of specific constructions, and (4) typology (if necessary) by providing an insightful analysis of their main structural features, regarding form, function and main uses.
THE EXPRESSION OF DOUBT.
4.1. Definition. The expression of ‘doubt’ implies the notions of ‘uncertainty of mind’, that is, ‘doubts about something that we are not certain about’ because we hesitate to believe in its existence (physical or theoretical). By expressing doubt, we make statements less assertive since we hesitate to believe in the information conveyed. In English we can convey different degrees of doubt by using different grammatical categories, for instance, an assertive sentence like “Mark is at home” may convey doubt by using adverbs, nouns (noun phrases), modal auxiliary verbs or specific constructions, thus “I doubt that he is at home”, “He may be at home”, “He is probably at home”, “He might be at home”, “It’s possible that he is at home”, “It’s possible for him to be at home”, “He is believed to be at home” or “There is a possibility that he is at home”. Therefore, we shall approach the expression of doubt in terms of grammatical categories and specific syntactic constructions.
4.2. Main grammatical categories. The expression of doubt may be conveyed by means of grammatical categories, both open and closed classes, that is, through verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs (open) and also, through prepositions and auxiliary verbs (close) among others.
First of all, we must establish a relevant distinction regarding this open class category. Following Quirk and Greenbaum (1973) and Aarts (1988), the two major types of verbs are lexical and auxiliary, both belonging to two different grammatical categories, for instance, the former constitute an open class where the latter constitute a closed class. Moreover, since auxiliary verbs fall into the further distinction of primary auxiliaries and modal auxiliaries, both subclassifications also belong to the small closed class (Quirk et al. 1990). Therefore, when dealing with doubt, we shall focus on both lexical (or full verbs) and on those modal auxiliary verbs which convey the meaning under study (can, could, may, might, shall, will,
could , ...) Moreover, we shall also find primary auxiliary verbs in combination with the closed classes of prepositions since certain verb constructions need of periphrastic forms to be realized (i.e. He is thought to be at home ).
126.96.36.199. Lexical verbs. Then, within the category of lexical verbs, we may find those which convey a certain amount of escepticism towards the information referred to and have a kind of negative meaning, such as ‘doubt’, ‘disbelieve’, ‘question’, ‘review’ and so on. Moreover, we may find some verbs which express doubt in a degree scale, such as ‘think-imagine-claim’ (i.e. I think/imagine/claim he is at home). Also, these verbs may be used in their negative forms just to call into question the validity of a preceding utterance (i.e. I don’t believe it/I don’t think so).
188.8.131.52. Auxiliary verbs. In this section we shall examine the auxiliary verbs within their semantic function, that is, the different meanings they have with respect to the expression of doubt and their use in everyday speech. It must be borne in mind that meaning establishes relevant differences in use and significance, and in particular when dealing with people’s attitude or personal point of view about events or facts, as for our purposes, doubt. Within the field of semantics, modals are said to show people’s attitude and intention towards other people or events through a wide range of ideas, nuances and concepts within different contexts, for instance, to express a variety of circumstances when dealing with uncertainty and possibility. We use may, might, can, could to express possibility in general and in this section we will approach the slight differences among them. Thus, regarding the first pair, although ‘may’ and ‘might’ normally express possibility, the latter slightly increases the doubt. Again, although both of them are used for present and future (i.e. She may/might tell her husband), ‘might’ must be used in the conditional when the expression is introduced by a verb in the past tense (i.e. If you invited them they might come ) and in indirect speech (i.e. He said he might visit us).
Moreover, ‘may’ and ‘might’ can be used in conditional sentences instead of ‘will’ and ‘would’ just to indicate the ‘possibility’ or ‘certainty’ of a result (i.e. If they see you they will smile at you=certainty vs. If they see you they may smile at you=possibility ). When we say that something was possible in the past, we can use either ‘may/might’ + perfect infinitive (i.e. Where is Tom? – He may/might have gone already). ‘Could’ + perfect infinitive can also mean that something was possible but didn’t happen (i.e. The police could have caught him = but they didn’t catch him yet). As we can see, ‘may’ and ‘might’ present no problems in the affirmative and negative form, but they do with the interrogative forms since we must use the constructions ‘be + likely’ (infinite form) or ‘think’, which are more usual than ‘may’ and ‘might’ (i.e. Do you think/Is it likely that the plane will land on time?). Moreover, this pair can be used in speculations about past actions using the structure ‘may/might’ + perfect infinitive (i.e. They may/might have been here). Secondly, regarding ‘could’ we can say it is an alternative to ‘may’ and ‘might’ (i.e. She may/might/could be at the bank=Perhaps she is at the bank) in the affirmative form. In the negative, though, there a difference of meaning between ‘may/might’ and ‘could’ since the former express possibility whereas the latter expresses negative deduction. For instance, observe: ‘He may/might not eat that sandwich’ meaning that perhaps he is not hungry any more vs. ‘He couldn’t eat that sandwich’ meaning that perhaps it is impossible for him to eat it because of its size, taste, or whatever reason. In the interrogative we can use either ‘could’ or ‘might’ (i.e. Could/Might she be studying?= Do you think/Is it likely that she is studying?). Note that in the past, we use the construction ‘could’ + perfect infinitive to express that something was totally impossible (i.e. He couldn’t have eaten that sandwich). Moreover, we often use the continuous form ‘may/might/could + have been + -ing’ to talk about a past possibility (i.e. He didn’t come to the party. He may/might/could have been sleeping). Finally, ‘can’ is also used to express general possibility in the present and past only , and chiefly in the affirmative. ‘Can’ makes reference to something that it is possible because circumstances permit it in opposition to the kind of possibility expressed by ‘may’ (i.e. You can go sailing = It is sunny, the sea is calm and therefore, it is safe). Moreover, ‘can’ can also express occasional possibility (i.e. Oysters can be quite dangerous = when eating them out of date). ‘Could’ would be then used in the past (i.e. They could be quite understanding ).
Moreover, we must establish another relevant distinction between the notions of certainty and deduction by means of can’t and must, since we normally use ‘can’t’ when we realize that something is impossible (i.e. Patrick can’t be in Greece now. I saw him at work this morning) and ‘must’ when we realize that something is certainly true or we make deductions (i.e. Nobody answered the phone. They must be out). Note the short anwers, for instance, ‘Do you dare to jump?Do not insist. She can’t do it’ and ‘Is she in? – She must be. Note that in both cases we increase the notions of impossibility or certainty by stressing ‘can’t’ and ‘must’. Similarly, in the past we may also use ‘can’t’ + perfect infinitive when we think something was impossible (i.e. Someone took my money from the drawer. Nicky can’t have done it) and ‘must’ + perfect infinitive when we feel certain something was true in the past (i.e. The window was broken. Children must have done it when playing).
4.2.2. Nouns. Following Huddleston (1988), the expression of doubt is also realized by means of nouns or noun phrases, although it is not so common as with auxiliary verbs or adverbs. For instance, we find the nouns ‘doubt’ (i.e. I have serious doubts about your inner thoughts), ‘possibility’ (i.e. There is a possibility of doing it correctly) , ‘probability’ (i.e. There is a high probability for you to win the lottery), ‘likelyhood’ (i.e. Is there any likelihood of his leaving?), ‘chance’ (i.e. You’ve got no chance to pull her tonight), ‘uncertainty’ (i.e. The uncertainties of a future job), ‘hesitation’ (i.e. His doubts and hesitations were tiresome), ‘disbelief’ (i.e. It’s your disbelief that makes you so stubborn), ‘among many more.
4.2.3. Adjectives. On expressing doubt we can also use adjectives which are drawn from other open categories, for instance, the most common ones are ‘possible’ (i.e. Do you think it is possible for him to arrive on time?), ‘probable’ (i.e. It is probable that ghosts exist), ‘doubtful’ (i.e. Your words are doubtful), ‘uncertain’ (i.e. We have to face an uncertain future), ‘likely’ (i.e. It is likely that she will have a baby soon), and so on. It is relevant to mention at this point that the adjective ‘likely’ is to be found
within specific syntactic constructions (i.e. He is likely to fail his driving test) and its opposite ‘unlikely’ increases the degree of doubt considerably (i.e. He is unlikely to fail his driving test), though both of them express a lack of certainty.
4.2.4. Adverbs. Adverbs also express doubt , likelihood and chance by means of ‘probaly’, ‘uncertainly’, ‘possibly’ among others (i.e. She’ll probably prepare dinner). Yet, following Quirk et al. (1990), there are certain disjuncts which make comments on the content of an utterance, especially when relating to ‘certainty’ or ‘uncertainty’. These disjuncts actually comment on the truth value of what is said, espressing doubts or posing contingencies such as conditions or reasons. For instance, by means of ‘presumably, reportedly, allegedly undoubtely, apparently, theoretically’ in a sentence like “The play was (adverb) written by Francis Romaire”. However, there is no doubt that the most common adverbs are ‘maybe’ and ‘perhaps’, which are frequently used on their own (i.e. Perhaps she is still at work / Maybe I’m wrong).
4.3. Specific syntactic structures.
It is worth noting that apart from grammatical categories, we may find other specific clause structures, such as ‘It is possible (adjective) for him to be at home”, “Do you think + future time?” (i.e. Do you think the Earth will be de stroyed by an asteroid?) or “I am + likely + to -infinitive” (i.e. I am likely to faint). It must be borne in mind that an adverb adjunct can usually be paraphrased by with its adjective base in the vacant position (i.e. I am not completely sure about your leaving). 5. THE EXPRESSION OF CONDITION AND HYPOTHESIS. The expression of condition will be examined together with that of hypothesis since both of them are part of the classification of ‘direct conditions’ as ‘open conditions’ and ‘hypothetical conditions’. Therefore, we shall approach these two notions by (1) defining these concepts through the opposite items direct vs. indirect condition. Then we shall examine (2) the different types of conditional sentences in terms of their main structural features regarding form, function and use.
5.1. Definition: direct vs. indirect condition. The main difference between a direct condition and an indirect condition is that a direct condition is related to the situation in the main clause whereas the indirect is not, for instance, “If she arrives late, she will miss the bus” (direct) vs. “His style is so old-fashioned, if I may so” (indirect). As we can see, in uttering the latter sentence, the speaker does not intend the truth of the assertion since the condition is independent on the implicit speech act of the utterance. However, the former sentence does depend on the main clause. Then, the expression of ‘condition’ will be examined in this section together with that of ‘hypothesis’ since we shall deal with ‘direct conditions’ which are classified into open conditions or hypothetical conditions (Quirk et al. 1990). Generally, direct conditional sentences show how a result depends on a condition, and therefore, the condition may be (1) possible and probable, (2) possible but improbable or unreal, or (3) impossible. Hence, the latter two classifications are embedded under the label of ‘hypothetical’ since they relate to imaginary situations in present time or in the future and unreal situations in the past, and also convey the meaning of unreachable or not fulfilled results (in present, past and future time). On the one hand, open conditions (first type) are said to be neutral since “they leave unresolved the question of the fulfilment or nonfulfilment of the conditio n, and hence also the truth of the proposition expressed by the matrix clause” (i.e. If she is in Edinburgh, I’ll find her). As seen, this sentence leaves unresolved whether she is in Edinburgh, and hence it leaves unresolved whether he will find her. On the other hand, a hypothetical condition (second and third type), conveys “the speaker’s belief that the condition will not be fullfilled (for future conditions), is not fulfilled (for present conditions), or was not fullfilled (for past conditions) and he nce the probable or certain falsity of the proposition expressed by the matrix clause”. Quirk et al. (1990) propose some sentences, for instance, ‘If he changed his options, he’d be a more likeable person’ (conveying the implication that he very probably won’t change his opinions in a future situation); ‘They would be here with us if they had the time’ (conveying the meaning that they presumably don’t have the time in a present situation); and ‘ If you had listened to me, you wouldn’t have made so many mistakes’ (conveying the implication that you certainly didn’t listen to me in a past situation). But let us examine each type.
5.2. Types of conditional sentences. Traditionally, there are three main types of conditional sentences which have been classified as such depending on the different results they show on a condition. In this section, we shall examine closely each type in terms of their main structural features, that is, in terms of form and function (morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics). Yet, we shall introduce first some common syntactic features for all the three types
5.2.1. Common points to remember. •
The order of clauses. As we shall see, conditional sentences have two parts: the if-clause and the main clause. The if-clause may come first or second in a statement, depending on which part is uppermost in the speaker’s mind (and therefore stressed). For instance, in a sentence like “If I go skiing, I’ll tell you”, ‘If I go skiing’ is the if-clause (and therefore the subordinate clause) and ‘I’ll tell you’ is the main clause.
Punctuation. From the example above, it can be seen that while a comma is necessary when the if-clause comes first, no comma is needed when the order is reversed (i.e. I’ll tell you if I go skiing).
Differen t types, different tenses. Since there are three types of conditional sentences, each kind contains a different pair of tenses and therefore, lexical and auxiliary verbs will be used in order to convey the meaning required: probability, improbability or impossibility.
Expressions introducing conditional clauses. Conditional sentences are usually associated with the conjunction ‘if’ but there are several other expressions which may introduce this type of sentences. For instance, (1) ‘even if’ as a synonym of ‘even though’ conveys the meaning of contrast or concession (i.e. You must leave tomorrow even if you are not ready). (2) ‘whether ... or’ or ‘if ... or’ states a duality of choice between ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (i.e. Tell me whether I am right or not). Note that we can also omit ‘or’ (i.e. Tell me whether I am right). (3) ‘when’ often substitutes ‘if’ when the result of the condition is virtually inevitable (i.e. When you put sugar in hot milk, it dissolves). (4) ‘unless’, the negative counterpart of ‘if’, introduces a negative condition. The unless-clause is usually roughly similar to a negative if-clause. With unless there is
a greater focus on the condition as an exception (‘only if ... not’). There are therefore contexts in which the unless-clause cannot occur (i.e. I feel much happier if he doesn’t come with us BUT NOT: unless he comes with us). (5) ‘but for’, meaning ‘if it were not for’ or ‘if it hadn’t been for’ (i.e. My father pays all my fees. But for that I wouldn’t be living alone). (6) ‘otherwise’ means ‘if this doesn’t happen/didn’t happen/hadn’t happened’ (i.e. We must go back before midnight; otherwise we’ll be locked up). (7) ‘provided (that)’ can repalce ‘if’ when there is a strong idea of limitation or restriction and it is namely used with permission (i.e. You can park here provided you have a special card). (8) ‘suppose’ or ‘supposing (that)’ means ‘what if ...?’ (i.e. Suppose nobody knows it=What if nobody knows it?). It may also introduce suggestions (i.e. Suppose you ask him). (9) Others subordinators are ‘given (that)’ and ‘assuming (that)’ which are used for open conditions where the speaker assumes were, are, or will be fulfilled and from which a proposition is deduced (i.e. Given you are ill, we won’t go out). Also, ‘granted (that)’ introduces clauses when used as a premise for a deduction, but usually implies a previous statement on which the premise is based (i.e. Granted that he is a policeman, we are safe here). They both tend to be used in formal written style, particularly in argumentation. (10)
‘As long as’ or ‘so long as’ are, however, less formal than the semantically
similar but formal ‘provided (that)’ and ‘providing (that)’. ‘Just so (that)’ tends to appear in informal conversation. (11)
Other subordinators are ‘in case’ to give the reason of the action in the main
clause (i.e. I always slept by the phone in case someone rang during the night); ‘if only’ to express a wish or regret according to the tense used, for instance, ‘if only+present tense/will’ expresses hope (i.e. If only he comes in time), ‘if only+past/past perfect’ expresses regret (i.e. If only he didn’t smoke); and finally ‘if only+would’ expresses regret about a present action (i.e. If only he would drive more slowly). (12)
Others are ‘without’ (i.e. No temple is of interest without my face beside it,
grinning) and ‘on condition that’ (i.e. He would only agree on condition that he apologized).
5.2.2. The first type: open conditional. The first conditionaltype (also called open conditionals, possible and probable, and real) is used to talk about a future possibility and its consequence (i.e. If I see her, I’ll tell you). It also represents general truths at least in the view of the writer, such as scientific facts (i.e. Water boils at 100ºC), true facts known by everyone (i.e. Dogs hate cats), and so on. The conditions are said to be possible and the result virtually inevitable (i.e. If you add sugar to coffee, it dissolves). In terms of form, we may distinguish three subtypes depending on the verbal tense we include in the main clause, for instance, •
IF + present form + present form where any present form may be used, that is, present simple or continuous, present perfect simple or continuou (i.e. It invariably rains if you have forgotten your umbrella).
IF + present form + future form where again, any present form can be used in the if-clause and any future form (simple continuous or perfect) in the main clause (i.e. If that flight is fully booked, we’ll find another one /If you have just flown in from Canada, you’ll probably be suffering from headache).
IF + present form + imperative, where once more any present form can be used with an imperative form (i.e. If he comes, tell me/If you aren’t feeling well, make me know).
Moreover, we may find other possible variations of the basic form when adding the implicit meanin g of ‘obligation, possibility or permission’ by means of modal verbs in the main clause. So, instead of the construction IF+present+future, we may have (Thomson & Martinet, 1986): •
(a) if+present+may/might (conveying possibility) as in “If you work hard, you might pass”;
(b) if+present+may (permission) or can (permission or ability) as in “If your reports are successful you may/can publish them” (permission) or “If it stops raining we can go out” (permission or ability);
(c) if+present+must/should (or any expression of command) as in “If you are too fat, you should eat less” (obligation).
(d) if+present+another present tense (to express automatic or habitual results) as in “If you heat ice it turns to water).
(e) When ‘if’ is used to mean ‘as/since’, a variety of tenses can be used in the main clause (i.e. Anne hates Madrid=since she hates Madrid why does she live there?).
It must be borne in mind that ‘if’ (positive condition) can express negative condition by using ‘unless’ (instead of ‘if ... not’) with positive verbs (i.e. She won’t wear it unless she likes it). They often introduce non-finite and verbless clauses (i.e. If ready, we can go/Unless expressly forbidden, we’ll enter). Negative condition is introduced by the subordinator ‘unless’ which functions at the level of finite adverbial clauses. Note that other compound conditional conjunctions are also used since they are approximately synonymous with ‘provided that’, ‘as long as’, ‘so long as’ and ‘on condition that’.
5.2.3. The second type: hypothetical conditional. The second conditional type (also called hypothetical conditionals, possible but improbable or unreal) is used to talk about an imaginary present or future situation and its consequence (i.e. If I had a lot of money, I’d buy a house in Hollywood). The conditions then are said to be hypothetical and therefore, possible but improbable or unreal in the present (i.e. If I had money, I’d travel around the world=but I haven’t money) or in the future (i.e. If someone tried to blackmail me I would report the police=but I don’t expect anyone will try to blackmail me). It represents unreal conditions where it is clearly expected that the condition will not be fulfilled (i.e. If you came, we would go shopping), and so on. In terms of form, there is no difference between the first and second types of conditional sentences since type 2, like type 1, refers to the present or future, and the past tense in the if-clause is not a true past but a subjunctive, which indicates unreality or improbability. The syntactic structure is as follows: IF + past form (simple or continuous) + present conditional simple or continuous (i.e. If I had more time to see my friends we would travel to Italy). Note that the past tense in the if-clause may be replaced by the form ‘were to’ + infinitive (i.e. If you were to travel, I would go with you).
(2) When we don’t expect the action in the if-clause to take place (i.e. If I saw a ghost at night I’d scream=but I don’t expect to see a ghost). (3) Sometimes, the second type is used as an alternative to type 1 for perfectly possible plans and suggestions (i.e. Will Peter be in time if he gets the three o’clock bus?). Note that the use of ‘will’ instead of ‘would’ makes the question less polite. Moreover, we may find other possible variations of the basic form in the main clause when adding modal verbs. For instance: •
‘Might’ or ‘could’ may be used instead of ‘would’ to express certain result (i.e. If you tried harder you would succeed), possible result (i.e. If you tried again you might succeed), ability (i.e. If I knew her number I would ring her up now) and ability or permission (i.e. If he had a permit he could get a job).
The continuous conditional form may be used instead of the simple conditional form (i.e. If I were on holiday I would/might be touring all day).
If + past tense can be followed by another past tense when we wish to express automatic or habitual reactions in the past (i.e. If anyone interrupter her she got furious).
When ‘if’ is used to mean ‘as’ or ‘since’ a variety of tenses is possible in the main clause (i.e. The pills made him dizzy. All the same he bought/has bought/is buying some more).
Other variations are if + past continuous (i.e. If we were going by boat I’d feel sick) and if + past perfect (i.e. If he had taken my advice he would be a rich man now).
5.2.4. The third type: past hypothetical conditional. The third conditional type (also called past hypothetical conditional, unreal and impossible) is used to speculate about something that happened in the past and how it could have been different (i.e. If I had worked harder, I would have earned more money=but I didn’t work hard so I didn’t earn money). The conditions then are said to be hypothetical in the past and therefore, unreal and impossible and show how a result in the past or present depends on a condition in the past. Then since we cannot change that condition or its result, they are known as impossible conditional, where the condition is not to be fulfilled. In terms of form, when it expresses a past result, it is as follows: IF + past perfect simple/continuous + perfect conditional simple/continuous (i.e. If you hadn’t lost the car keys, we would have been at
home five hours ago). On the contrary, if it expresses a present result, the syntactic construction is as follows: IF + past perfect simple/continuous + present conditional simple/continuous (i.e. He’d be playing in the team today if he hadn’t gone down with an attack of flu). Moreover, we may find other possible variations of the basic form in the main clause, for instance: •
When adding modal verbs, for example, we may use ‘might’ or ‘could’ + perfect infinitive to replace the past conditional which suggests that the result is probable rather than certain (i.e. I might have got the job if I hadn’t been late for the first interview).
Conditional clauses, especially unreal ones, may have subject-operator inversion without a conjunction (i.e. Had I known, I would not have gone out/Were she in charge, she would do things differently/Should you change your mind, nobody would blame you/Should she be interested, I’ll phone her). The effect is more formal.
The combination ‘if only’ is an intensified equivalent of ‘if’ typically used in preposed unreal conditions (with no non-assertive requirement) to express a wish (i.e. If only somebody had told us, we could have warned you).
5.3. Other conditional types.
Other types of conditionals are found under the form of specific syntactic constructions or coordination process. Thus •
Inversion. As stated above, conditional clauses, especially unreal ones, may have subjectoperator inversion without a conjunction as the effect is more formal. (i.e. Had I known, I would not have gone out/Were she in charge, she would do things differently/Should you change your mind, nobody would blame you/Should she be interested, I’ll phone her).
Coordination, by means of conjuncts such as ‘but’ and ‘and’ (i.e. Say it again and I’ll leave forever/Open the safe or I’ll shoot).
Non-finite clauses (i.e. You have to be eighteen to drink alcoholic drinks).
Other means such as the use of adverbial phrases, such as ‘According to...’ (i.e. According to my expectations, the train will arrive at five o’clock).
Rethorical conditional clauses, which give the appearance of expressing an open condition but they actua lly make a strong assertion. We may distinguish two main types: (1) If the propositition in the main clause makes no sense (absurd), the proposition in the conditional clause is shown to be false (i.e. If they are rich, I’m Onassis); (2) if the proposition in the conditinal clause (which contains measure expressions) is patently true, the proposition in the matrix clause is shown to be true (then the if-clause is placed in final position) (i.e. He’s ninety if he’s a day.
Alternative conditional-concessive clauses. According to Quirk et al. (1990), the correlative sequence ‘whether...or (whether)’ combines the conditional meaning of ‘if’ with the disjunctive meaning of ‘either...or’. If the second unit is a full finite clause, ‘whether’ may be repeated (i.e. He’s getting married, whether or not he finds a job). Other correlative sequence is ‘with...without’ (i.e. With a bank loan or without it, we’ll buy a house).
6. THE EXPRESSION OF CONTRAST. 6.1. Definition.
The expression of ‘constrast’ implies the notions of ‘comparison and contrast between two items’. By expressing contrast, we make statements which contrast with what has been said previously (i.e. Although he hadn’t any money, he lived comfortably) either by means of coordination or subordination with respect to the main clause. Hence, in English the notion of comparison in terms of constrast is to be found in ‘concessive’ clauses or clauses of concession introduced/coordinated by conjuncts (conjunctions), disjuncts (adverbs) or adjuncts (other means such as finite/nonfinite clauses), which are realized by different grammatical categories, specific syntactic constructions and punctuation. 6.2. Main grammatical categories.
The expression of contrast may be conveyed by means of grammatical categories, both open and closed classes, that is, through verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs (open) and also, through prepositions (in combination with adverbs and adjectives) among others.
6.2.1. Verbs. The expression of contrast is realized by the grammatical category of verbs, which convey the meaning of contrast such as: ‘contrast’, ‘compare’, ‘measure’, ‘contend’, ‘differenciate’, ‘make a choice between’ among others. They usually reflect the notion of ‘comparison’ literally.
6.2.2. Nouns. The expression of contrast is also realized by means of nouns or noun phrases, although it is not so common as verbs or adverbs. For instance, we find the nouns ‘contrast’ (i.e. Contrast may make something appear more beautiful), ‘comparison’ (i.e. I hate comparisons), ‘contrariety’ (i.e. There are many contrarieties in nature), ‘concession’ (i.e. Expressing concession is our goal in this study) and so on.
6.2.3. Adjectives. On expressing contrast we can also use adjectives which are drawn from other open categories, for instance, the most common ones are ‘contrastive’ (i.e. This is a contrastive link), ‘different’ (i.e. You are different from the rest), ‘opposition’ (i.e. He has to face strong oppositions in politics) and so on.
6.2.4. Adverbs. Adverbs are the most common means to express ‘contrast’ since they are quite usual in speech. For instance, ‘though’ can be used as an adverb meaning ‘however’ (i.e. I can’t stay long. I’ll have a coffee, though). It’s always used with commas (both of them). Moreover, ‘however’ and ‘nevertheless’ are also adverbs and are used when adding a comment which contrasts with what has been said before. ‘However’ is always separated from the rest of the sentence by commas (i.e. That’s one good reason. It is not, however, the only one). On the other hand, ‘nevertheless’ is followed by a comma when it begins a sentence (i.e. He had not slept that night. Nevertheless, he seemed as energetic as ever).
6.2.5. Conjunctions. Clauses of concession are namely introduced by conjunctions, that si , conjuncts. For instance, ‘although’ and ‘even though’ (i.e. Although/Even though the number of deaths are well publicised, they have increased this summer) which are used in a similar way. They introduce a statement which makes the main information in the sentence seem surprising. Other conjunctions are ‘while’ and ‘whereas’ (quite formal) which states strong contrast (i.e. I like meat whereas/while she likes fish). ‘But’ and ‘yet’ are also conjunctions which are used to introduce a statement which contrasts with what has been said previously, although ‘yet’ is more emphatic (i.e. So a mass media approach may work. But it needs to be controlled/If asked what is wrong we should answer in terms of hospitals, doctors and pills. Yet we are all making lots of decisions about health care).
6.2.6. Prepositions. ‘Despite’ and ‘in spite of’ are prepositions and are followed by nouns (or gerunds). (i.e. Despite extensive press campaigns, the number of smokers continues increasing). They cannot be followed by a clause and in case we need to introduce it, we have to use the construction ‘despite/in spite of the fact that + clause (i.e. In spite of the fact that it was raining, we went out). Moreover, we may find, prepositional phrases such as ‘on the one hand vs. on the other hand’, ‘not only ... but also’, ‘all the same’, etc.
6.3. Specific syntactic structures. It is worth noting that apart from grammatical categories, we may find other specific clause structures, such as •
Idiomatic expressions such as ‘much as’ (i.e. Much as I hated to do it, I had no choice), no matter how (much/many) (i.e. I want you to buy it, no matter how much it may cost), no matter how long (i.e. I’ll finish the job, no matter how long it
takes), however (much) (i.e. We cannot agree with him, howeverr much we respect him), whatever (i.e. Whatever his faults, he was generally liked), for all (i.e. For all his severity, he was a kind man at heart), notwithstanding (i.e. The student’s knowledge is so little, his high level of education notw ithstanding), ‘come what may’, ‘even’ (i.e. Even if he is poor, he’s an honest man) and so on. •
Coordination links such as ‘but’ (i.e. He is so rich, but he is not happy), ‘and’ (i.e. I am twenty-six years old and my sister is just twenty) and ‘or’ (i.e. Will you come now or in twenty minutes?).
Comparative clauses, where two or more objects, people or situations are contrasted by means of comparison (i.e. Your car is faster than mine).
Stylistic contrast, by means of which semi-synonyms may often be contrasted in terms of their use (i.e. Horses sweat, gentlemen perspire, but ladies merely glow). Here the contrast makes reference to the different levels of politeness we can convey by literary expressions.
7. EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS. The expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast dealt with in this study is relevant to the learning of the vocabulary of a foreign language since differences between the vocabulary of the learner's native language (L1) and that of the foreign language (L2) may lead to several problems, such as the incorrect use of these expressions, especially because of the syntactic, morphological, and semantic processes implied. Moreover, these connections are brought to their attention, especially when they overlapped (concession and condition). It has been suggested that a methodology grounded in part in the application of explicit linguistic knowledge enhances the second language learning process. In the Spanish curriculum (B.O.E. 2002), the notions of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast is envisaged from earlier stages of ESO, thus (i.e. simple connectors, such as ‘but’, ‘and’, ‘or’), up to higher stages of Bachillerato, towards more complex constructions (i.e. however, even though, nevertheless, on the other hand) and processes of fronting when expressing reason (i.e. Had I known this, I would have done something) and so on.
The expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast have been considered an important element of language teaching because of its high-frequency in speech. Hence, the importance of how to handle these expressions cannot be understated since you cannot communicate without it. Learners are expected to be able to recognise and produce all the above clause types, and to use them as appropriate in the functions set out in the previous chapters. However, language learners do not automatically recognize similiarities which seem obvious to teachers; learners need to have these associations brought to their attention. So far, we have attempted in this discussion to provide a broad account of the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast in order to set it up within the linguistic theory, going through the localization of adjuncts, disjuncts and conjuncts in syntactic structures, and finally, once correctly framed, a brief presentation of the four main notions under study. We hope students are able to understand the relevance of handling correctly the expression of these logical relations in everyday life communication.
8. CONCLUSION So far, in this study we have attempted to take a fairly broad view of the expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast since we are also assuming that there is an intrinsic connexion between its learning and successful communication. Yet, we have provided a descriptive account of Unit 26, untitled The expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast whose main aim was to introduce the student to the different ways of expressing these relations in English in terms of their main structural features. In doing so, the study provided a broad account the notions of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast, starting by a lingistic framework in order to get some key terminology on the issue, and further developed within a grammar linguistic theory, described in syntactic terms as we were dealing with syntactic structures. Once presented, we discussed how adverbs, prepositions and other syntactic constructions reflected these notions. In fact, they are currently considered to be a central element in communicative competence and in the acquisition of a second language since students must be able to convey the meaning of doubt,
condition, hypothesis and contrast in their everyday life in many different situations. As stated before, the teaching of these expressions comprises five major components in our educational curriculum: phonology, grammar, lexicon, semantics and pragmatics, out of which we get five major levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic, lexical, semantic and the extra field of use.
In fact, our students are expected to be able to understand and produce simple, compound and complex sentences within the limits of specifications of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast logical relations. In speech, they can produce compound sentences, limited to one or two subordinate clauses of relatively simple structure with a main clause frame of a basic character by handling properly a good knowledge at all the linguistic levels examined in this study.
Therefore, it is a fact that students must be able to handle the four levels in communicative competence in order to be effectively and highly communicative in the classroom and in real life situations. The expression of doubt, condition, hypothesis and contrast proves highly frequent in our everyday speech, and consequently, we must encourage our students to have a good managing of it.
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