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Morphological composition

The Cardinals

§ 229. Amongthe cardinals there aresimple, derived, andcompoundwords.

The cardinals from one to twelve, hundred, thousand, million are simple words; those from thirteen to nineteen are derived from the corresponding simple ones by means of the suffix -teen; the cardinals denoting fens are derived from the corresponding simple ones by means of the suffix -ty.



Mind the difference in the spelling of the stem in three and thirteen (thirty), four and forty, five and

fifteen (fifty).


The cardinals from twenty-one to twenty-nine, from thirty-one to thirty-nine, etc. and those over hundred are compounds.

In cardinals consisting of tens and units the two words are hyphenated:


21 - twenty-one, 35 - thirty-five, 72 - seventy-two, etc.


In cardinals including hundreds and thousands the words denoting units and tens are joined to those denoting hundreds, thousands, by means of the conjunction and:


103 - one hundred and three,

225 - two hundred and twenty-five,

3038 - three thousand and thirty-eight,

9651 - nine thousand six hundred and fifty-one.



If not part of a composite numeral the words hundred, thousand and million in the singular are always used withthe indefinite article; a hundred pages, a thousand ways; in composite numerals both a andone are possible, butone is less common; a (one) hundred and fifty pages.

The words for common fractions are also composite. They are formed from cardinals denoting the numerator and substantivized ordinals denoting the denominator. If the numerator is a numeral higher than one, the ordinal in the denominator takes the plural form. The numerator and denominator may be joined by means of a hyphen or without it:


1/3 - one-third (one third),

2/7 - two-sevenths (two sevenths), etc.


In mixed numbers the numerals denoting fractions are joined to the numerals denoting integers (whole numbers) by means of the conjunction and:


3 1/5 - three and one-fifth,

20 3/8 - twenty and three-eighths.


In decimal fractions the numerals denoting fractions are joined to those denoting whole numbers by means of the words point or decimal:


0.5 - zero point (decimal) five,

2.3 - two point (decimal) three,

0,5 - zero decimal five,

0,005 - zero decimal zero zero five.

The ordinals


§ 230. Amongthe ordinals there are also simple, derivative and compound words.

The simple ordinals are first, second and third.

The derivative ordinals are derived from the simple and derivative cardinals by means of the suffix-th:

four-fourth, ten-tenth, sixteen-sixteenth, twenty-twentieth, etc.


Before the suffix -th the final у is replaced byie:

thirty - thirtieth, etc.


Mind the difference in the spelling of the stems in the following cardinals and ordinals:

five-fifth, nine-ninth.


The compound ordinals are formed from composite cardinals. In this case only the last component of the compound numeral has the form of the ordinal:

twenty-first, forty-second, sixty-seventh, one hundred and first, etc.

Morphological characteristics

§ 231. Numerals do not undergo any morphological changes, that is, they do not have morphological categories. In this they differ from nouns with numerical meaning. Thus the numerals ten (десять), hundred (сто), thousand (тысяча)do not have plural forms:

two hundred and fifty, four thousand people, etc.,


whereas the corresponding homonymous nounsten (десяток), hundred (сотня), thousand (тысяча) do:


to count in tens, hundreds of people, thousands of birds, etc.

Patterns of combinability


§ 232. Numerals combine mostly with nouns and function as their attributes, usually as premodifying attributes. If a noun has several premodifying attributes including a cardinal or an ordinal, these come first, as in:

three tiny green leaves, seven iron men, the second pale little boy, etc.


The only exception is pronoun determiners, which always begin a series of attributes:

his second beautiful wife; these four rooms; her three little children; every second day, etc.

If both a cardinal and an ordinal refer to one head-nounthe ordinal comes first:

the first three tall girls, the second two grey dogs, etc.


Nouns premodified by ordinals are used withthe definite article:

The first men in the moon, the third month, etc.


When used with the indefinite article, they lose their numerical meaning and acquire that of a pronoun (another, one more), as in:

a second man entered, then a third

(вошел еще один человек, потом еще).


Postmodifying numerals combine with a limited number of nouns. Postmodifying cardinals are combinable with some nouns denoting items of certain sets of things:

pages, paragraphs, chapters, parts of books, acts and scenes of plays, lessons in textbooks, apartments

and rooms, buses or trams (means of transport), grammatical terms, etc.;

room two hundred and three, page ten, bus four, participle one, etc.




In such cases the cardinals have a numbering meaning and thus differ semantically from the ordinals which have an enumerating meaning. Enumeration indicates the order of a thing in a certain succession of things, while numbering indicates a number constantly attached to a thing either in a certain succession or in a certain set of things. Thus, the first room (enumeration) is not necessarily room one (numbering), etc. Compare:

the first room I looked into was room five,


the second page that he read was page twenty-three, etc.


Postmodifying ordinals occur in combinations with certain proper names, mostly those denoting the members of well-known dynasties:

King Henry VIII - King Henry the Eighth,

Peter I - Peter the First, etc.


Mind the position of the article in such phrases. It is always attached to the numeral.

When used as substitutes numerals combinewith various verbs:

I saw five of them. They took twenty.

As head-words modified by other words numerals are combinable with:


1) prepositional phrases:

the first of May, one of the men, two of them, etc.


2) pronouns:

every three days, all seven, each fifth, etc.


3) adjectives:

the best three of them, the last two weeks, etc.


4) particles:

just five days ago, only two, only three books, he is nearly sixty, etc.



The numeral first may combine with the particlevery:

the very first of them.


When they have the function of subject or predicative the numerals are combinable with link verbs, generally the verbto be:

ten were present, the first was my father we are seven, she is the second.

Occasionally they are combinable with some other link verbs:

two seemed enough, the third appeared to be wounded.

Syntactic function

§ 233. Though cardinals and ordinals have mainly similar syntactic functions they differ in certain details.

The most characteristic function of both is thatof premodifying attribute:

two rooms, the third person, etc.


In this connection it must be remembered that while the ordinals are used as ordinary attributes, cardinals with the function of an attribute govern the number of the noun they modify:

one page, but two (three, etc.) pages.


Note 1:


Quite unlike Russian, composite cardinals ending in one (twenty-one, thirty-one, two hundred and one, three hundred and twenty-one, etc.) requirea plural noun:

twenty-one pages, two hundred and one pages.

Note 2:

In numbering the items of certain sets of things cardinals, not ordinals, are used to modify the nouns denoting these things. The cardinals thus used are always postmodifying. The nouns modified do not take an article:

page three, lesson one, room thirty-five, etc.

(In Russian both ordinals and cardinals are possible in this case, though ordinals are preferable. Compare:

пятая страница and страница пять,

десятая аудитория and аудитория десять.)


Both cardinals and ordinals may have the functions ofsubject, object, predicative andadverbial modifier of time:

Three of us went home.

I saw two of them in the forest.

They were seven.

She got up at five today.


However, in all these cases a noun is always implied, that is, the numeral functions as a substitute for the noun either mentioned in the previous context, or self-evident from the situation. The only case in which the numerals (cardinals) can really have the function of subject, object or predicative is when they are used with their purely abstract force:

five is more than three; two plus two is four, etc.

Substantivized numerals

§ 234. Numerals can be substantivized, that is, take formal nominal features: the plural suffix -s, an article, and the ability to combine with adjectives and some other modifiers of nouns. When numerals undergo substantivization not only their morphology is changed, but also their meaning. Thus when the numerals hundred, thousand and million are substantivized they acquire the meaning "a great quantity", as in:

hundreds of books, thousands of people, millions of insects, etc.


Other numerals, both cardinals and ordinals, can also be substantivized.

Cardinals are substantivized when they name:


1) school marks in Russia

(He got a two. He got three fives)


school marks in Great Britain

(He got ten. He got three nines last week).


2) sets of persons and things:

They came in twos. They followed in fours. Form fours!


3) playing cards:

the two of hearts, the five of spades, the seven of diamonds, the ten of clubs, three of trumps.


4) boats for a certain number of rowers:

a four, an eight.


5) decades:

in the early sixties, in the late fifties, etc.


The meaning of substantivized ordinals is less affected by substantivi­zation and remains the same:


He was the first to come.

She was the fourth to leave.



§ 235. The stative denotes a temporary state of a person or a non-person. Unlike such classes of words as nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs the number of statives functioning in English is limited. There are about 30 stable statives, used both in colloquial and in formal style:


ablaze adrift afire aflame afloat afoot afraid aghast aglow agog ahead akin ajar alight alike alive aloof alone amiss ashamed askew aslant asleep aslope astir astray athirst awake awry


and about 100 unstable ones, which are seldom used even in formal style and never in colloquial:

ashudder, atwist, atremble, agleam, etc.


Semantically statives fall into five groups describing various states of persons or non-persons:


1. Psychological states of persons:

afraid, aghast, ashamed, aware, agog.

2. Physical states of persons:

alive, awake, asleep.

3. States of motion or activity of persons or non-persons:

afoot, astir, afloat, adrift.

4. Physical states of non-persons:

afire, aflame, alight, aglow, ablaze.

5. The posture of non-persons:

askew, awry, aslant, ajar.


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