flesl.net grammar glossary references::closed- and open-class words

references for Grammar Glossary entry: “subjects”

• The following sections of A Comprehensive Grammar of The English Language (Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, Jan Svartik, Longman, London & New York, 1985) were consulted in preparing this entry:

Central and peripheral elements of the clause

§2.13  49-50

The characterization of clause elements

§2.24   59


§10.6   724-26

[various semantic roles of subjects]

§§10.23-10.26  746-748

Theme and focus

§18.9  1361-2

further notes:

1. In addition to the four syntactic functions of subjects mentioned in the entry, the authors of A Comprehensive Grammar of Contemporary English list several others: the subject determines the number, gender and person of reflexive pronouns used as direct objects, indirect objects, subject complements, or prepositional complements; subjects require subjective forms of those pronouns which have such forms; subjects are repeated by appropriate pronouns in tag questions; implied subjects of subjectless non-finite and verbless clauses are usually identical with the subjects of the clauses which contain them. (cf CGEL §10.6, 725)

2. In addition to the two types of subject briefly mentioned in the entry — agentive subjects and “prop it subjects” — the authors of A Comprehensive Grammar of Contemporary English identify several other types: “recipient” subjects (e.g. Harry enjoyed the movie); “positioner” subjects (e.g. Harry and Jill spent the night in a motel); “locative” subjects (e.g. Vancouver is rainy;) and “eventive” subjects (e.g. The attack on Libya happened the next day). They also list three types of “prop it ” subjects: time: (e.g. It’s still early); atmospheric conditions: (e.g. It’s getting dark); and distance: (e.g. It’s a long way from London to Istanbul.) (cf. CGEL §§10.23-10.26, 746-748)