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We pointed out above (seep. 247) that the position of the attribute as a part of the sentence is not certain. In this section we assume that it is a part of the sentence, and treat it accordingly.

The position of an attribute before or after its head word largely depends on its morphological type. An attribute consisting of a prepositional phrase can only come after its head word. As to adjectival attributes, their usual position is before their head word, but in some cases they follow it. Let us consider a few examples of this kind. Darkness impenetrable and immovable filled the room. (J. AUSTEN) It has been long noticed that adjectives with the -ble suffix are apt to come after the noun they modify. This may be partly due to their semantic peculiarity: they are verbal in character, expressing as they do the possibility (or impossibility) for the person or thing denoted by the head word to undergo the action denoted by the stem from which the adjective in -ble is derived (in our example these stems are: penetr-, cf. the verb penetrate, and mov- respectively). This should not be taken to mean that adjectives of this type are bound to follow their head word, but the peculiarity of their meaning and structure makes it possible for them to do so. Postposition also occurs in certain stock phrases, such as from times immemorial, the best goods available, cousin german, etc., which are specially studied in lexicology. Apart from'these cases, postposition of an attribute is possible in poetic diction and is a distinctive stylistic feature. Compare, for example, Byron's lines: Adieu, adieu! my native shore / Fades o'er the waters blue, or again, Enough, enough, my yeoman good, / Thy grief let none gainsay. Nowhere but in pootiy would such phrases with postpositive attributes as the waters blue, or my yeoman good be possible.

An attribute expressed by an adverb (which does occur, though not too often) may come before its head word. Thus, the adverb then used as an attribute, as in the sentence She was of the tallest of women, and at her then age of six-and-twenty... in the prime and fulness of her beauty (THACKERAY, quoted by Poutsma) can only be prepositive, and besides it always stands between the definite article and the noun (a case of enclosure, see above, p. 184). It may be noted that the adverb then, when used in this manner, is an opposite of the adjective present, which occupies a similar position in such contexts as the present state of affairs.

Direct Address and Parentheses

The position of these parts of the sentence is probably more free than that of all other parts. Thus, a direct address can come in almost anywhere in the sentence, as will be seen from the following few examples: "Child, I'll try." "Oh, but, Dolly, we can't go." "Look here, Renny, why don't you come and work for me?" "Her smelling salts, Scarlett!" "What does that mean, Mr Kennedy?" (all from M. MITCHELL) "Instantly, Lieutenant, instantly." (SHAW).

Much the same may be said about parentheses. Some types of parenthesis usually come in between two constituent parts of the predicate: this is especially true of parentheses expressed by modal words, such as perhaps, probably, certainly, doubtless, and by the phrases no doubt, without doubt, in fact.

However, a parenthesis may also refer to one part of the sentence only, and is then bound to come before that part, e. g. "Tell me," she added with provoking and yet probably only mock serious eyes and waving the bag towards Roberta, "what shall I do with him?" (DREISER) Here the parenthesis probably belongs to the attribute only mock serious,'and it would have to go if that attribute were dropped.


If a particle belongs to a noun connected with a preposition, the particle will,  as often as not,  come between the preposition and  the noun  (this would be absolutely   impossible in Russian). Here are a few examples of this use:  The younger, Leander,  was above all young, it seemed to him, charmingly, crashingly so, with only a slightly greater than usual grace... (BUECHNER) She could not help thinking as the young man disappeared into the other room for ice, of the earlier evening at Tristram's apartment, also lit by only one lamp and with something of the same vague sense of anticipation in the dark air. (Idem) In this   latter  sentence  it   would perhaps be possible to put the particle before the preposition, that is, to write, ... lit only by one lamp. However the original text appears to be somehow more expressive than the altered one here proposed. As to the former example, the corresponding change, that is, the variant crashingly so, only with a slightly greater than usual grace, would imply a considerable change of meaning in the sentence; in the original text, only clearly refers to slightly (even though it is separated from the adverb slightly by the indefinite article), and only slightly forms a definite sense unit. In the variant only with a slightly greater than usual grace the connections of the particle are quite different: it would   here  mean  that  the  only   remark  necessary  to  make  the description   exact   is   the   one   about   the   slightly  greater  grace. Thus the particle only would  here  acquire  a kind  of connecting power, bringing it close to a conjunction. As will have  been  seen from these two examples, much will depend on the concrete grammatical and lexical context in which the particle and its head word appear.

Sometimes a particle refers to the word or phrase immediately preceding it. This can only happen if the particle stands at the end of the sentence or at least at the end of a section of the sentence marked by a pause in oral speech and by a comma or other punctuation mark in writing. This usage seems to be restricted to more or less official style, e. g. This book is for advanced students only.

Sometimes, however, a particle .comes'.-before the predicate or between two elements of the predicate, while it refers to some secondary part of the sentence standing further ahead. In these cases, then, the position of the particle is determined, not by its semantic ties, but by the structure of the sentence (it is joined on to the predicate whatever its semantic ties may be). Examples of such usage are numerous enough, e. g. He only arrived at three o'clock. The semantic connection obviously is not only arrived but only at three o'clock (not earlier). Generally speaking, the particle might refer to the .word arrived, and then the sense would be 'at three o'clock he only arrived, and he did not do anything else at the time'. Now, though this sense is conceivable, it is certainly much less natural or probable than the sense 'he arrived only at three o'clock, not .earlier', and so a reader is much more likely to take the written sentence in this latter way. A similar analysis might be given of other examples of this type. Other particles do not seem to be used in this way.

On the whole, the problem of word order proves to be a highly complex one, requiring great care and subtlety in the handling. As far as we can see now, different factors have something to do with determining the place of one part of a sentence or another. It is the scholar's task to unravel this complex by weighing the influences exercised by each factor, and their mutual relations. It is possible, for instance, that two factors work in the same direction — and then the result can only be one. It is also possible that different factors work in different directions, and then one of them will take the upper hand. This manifests itself, among other things, in the fact that grammatical order may limit the possibilities of functional sentence perspective. In this case some other means has to be found to render the intended meaning as clearly as possible.


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