An Introduction to the Language of Literature by N. F. Blake (auth.)

By N. F. Blake (auth.)

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In Shakespeare's Sonnet 129, for example, the verbs in the first sentence do not carry stress: Is lust in action, and till action, lust Is periurd, murdrous, blouddy full of blame. In both cases is is unstressed. Of course, many predicators will carry stress, but the frequency with which this does not happen is some indication that verbs may be less significant in a sentence than nouns. The same applies to adjuncts which are also often unstressed in poetry. Because of the structure of English sentences, the predicator is regularly sandwiched between the noun group acting as subject and that acting as object or complement.

In the last line of Sonnet 129 'To shun the heauen that leads men to this hell' , the verb leads indicated a habitual action which operates on all those who enter that particular heaven. Verbs and the actions they represent may be viewed in different ways, and usually those differences are expressed through the 42 AN INTRODUCTION TO THE LANGUAGE OF LITERATURE auxiliaries which occur as part of the verb group, though they may also be indicated through adverbs, particularly adverbs of manner. Modal auxiliaries are important in this respect.

Hence the group Mr Smith the postman contains the head Smith and a qualifier the postman. But the group could Group Structure: The Noun Group 25 be rewritten as the postman Mr Smith, in which postman is the ~ead and Mr Smith is a qualifier in apposition. This typ~ of qua~~er is common in poetic language, in which the phrases tn apposItIon often add to the metaphorical and symbolic meaning of the poem. Fourth is the use of adjectives after the noun, which is possible when there are two or three linked by and.

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