Syntactic classification

Syntactic functions of the pronoun

Personal pronouns

The nominative case form is generally used as a subject of the sentence, or predicative in the compound nominal predicate in a sentence.

The objective case form is used mainly as an object (with or without a preposition), occasionally as an attribute in prepositional phrase.

Possessive pronouns

Both conjoint and absolute forms may function with reference to persons and non-persons; pointing back (with anaphorical force) and forward (with anticipatory force). A peculiarity of the English language is that possessive pronouns , not the article, are used with reference to parts of the body, personal belongings, relatives, etc.

Mine is newer than yours.

Reflexive pronouns

The most common functions of the reflexive pronouns are those of an apposition and an object (direct, indirect, prepositional). Other functions are possible but less common.

You and Carlos have deceived yourselves.

Reciprocal pronouns

Reciprocal pronouns in common case function as objects. The possessive case forms are used as attributes.

Demonstrative pronouns

Both of demonstrative pronouns this and that are commonly used anaphorically, pointing to things, persons, or situations denoted in the preceding context.

Sometimes, however, these pronouns may be used with anticipatory force, pointing to something new, or something still to come.

That is incredible! (referring to something you have just seen)

These [pancakes sitting here now on my plate] are delicious.

Indefinite pronouns

The pronouns some and any indicate quantities and qualities, depending on the class and grammatical form of the noun with which they are used. They may be attributes in a sentence, or may substitute the noun.

The pronoun any is the only one to be used in negative sentences. It is also more common for interrogative sentences apart from situations when the speaker suggests that a certain state of affairs exist and the sentence is assertive. Any may also be found in affirmative sentences if used with the meaning of no matter what, no matter who.

The pronouns beginning with any are commonly used in the sentences with the same meaning as any

The pronoun one which is indefinite-personal is used as subject and attribute.

Negative pronouns

These pronouns add negative context to the nouns they modify. They may refer to persons as well as to non-persons.

Detaching pronouns

The pronoun other may function as an attribute and remains the function in genitive case. The pronoun another also has a dual reference, but it correlates only with countable nouns in the single.

Universal pronouns

These pronoun may have collective (all), dual (both) and individual (every) reference. Their syntactic function

Interrogative pronouns

These pronouns are used to form special questions. Who, whose, whoever have personal reference; what, whatever have non-personal reference. Which may have both personal and non-personal reference.

Which questions give you the most trouble?

Conjunctive pronouns

Conjunctive pronouns always combine two functions – notional and structural. They are notional words because they function as parts of the sentence within a clause, and they are structural words because they serve as connectors or markers of the subordinate clause. The compounds whoever, whatever, and whichever introduce subject and adverbial clauses and have a concessive meaning.

Relative pronouns

Relative pronouns, like conjunctive ones, have two functions – notional and structural. They are parts of the sentence and connectors between the main clause and the subordinate attributive clause they are used in.

We know who is guilty of this crime


Syntactic functions of numerals

Numerals combine mostly with nouns and function as their attributes, usually as premodifying attributes.

Nouns premodified by ordinals are used with definite article.

The third cat

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 etc.

Room twenty-two

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

King Henry VIII – King Henry the Eighth

Numerals are combinable with such words as:

  • prepositional phrases
  • pronouns
  • adjectives
  • particles

This way the words mentioned above are used as the head-words.

When speaking about other functions of numerals in a sentence apart from attribute already mentioned above, it is worth pointing out the functions of subject, object, predicative and adverbial modifier of time performed both by cardinals and ordinals. But when performing these functions, the numeral never acts alone being the substitute of the corresponding noun. Then noun is always mentioned in the previous context. The only case when the cardinal may act independently is when they function in their purely abstract meaning.

Numerals may be substantivized. Thus they take formal nominal features such as the category of number, an article, ability to combine with adjectives and some other modifier of nouns. The meaning of substantivized numerals may sometimes differ from normal ones. Thus hundred, thousand and million acquire the meaning of “a great quantity”.

Cardinals are substantivized when they name:

  • school marks
  • sets of persons and things
  • playing cards
  • boats for a certain number of rowers
  • decades

Some cardinals may be name differently depending on the context. Thus zero is called naught and nil.



The most typical syntactic function of the pronoun is that of the object. Depending on ability to denote persons and non-persons, the objects may be direct or indirect. The most typical function of the numeral is that of an attribute. It may also take other functions, but this fact is closely connected with the noun which meaning the numeral may acquire under certain circumstances. Other pronouns are divided according to their functional characteristics.

All numerals may be divided into to classes, cardinals and ordinals. Both cardinals and ordinals may be simple, derived and compound. The use of cardinal and ordinal numbers is restricted by their syntactic meaning and combinability. Cardinal numbers are more flexible in usage, is more universal. They may change their meaning when substantivized. Ordinal numbers are more stable in their use and remain their primary meaning if substantivized.


Having done our research we found out that both parts of speech faced simplification. Both of them had complicated forms and functions. Talking about the morphological composition, it is worth mentioning that both pronouns and numerals may be simple, derived and compound.

Pronouns are divided functionally and, in some way, structurally into several subclasses. They are: personal pronouns, reflexive pronouns, possessive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, reciprocal pronouns, indefinite pronouns, detaching pronouns, universal pronouns, conjunctive pronouns, negative pronouns, relative pronouns, interrogative pronouns.

Numerals in their way are divided into cardinal and ordinal. Cardinal numbers have a wider range of functions comparing to ordinal which functions are more restricted.

Both cardinal and ordinal numbers may be substantivized. This way, cardinal numbers mostly change their primary meaning becoming more generalized. Contrast to it, ordinal numbers slightly and rarely change their meaning when being substantivized.


Annex 1 Extra meanings of cardinal numbers


zero: formal scientific usage

naught / nought: mostly British usage

aught: Mostly archaic but still occasionally used when a digit in mid-number is 0 (as in “thirty-aught-six”, the .30-06 Springfield riflecartridge and by association guns that fire it)

oh: used when spelling numbers (like telephone, bank account, bus line)

nil: in general sport scores, British usage (“The score is two-nil.”)

nothing: in general sport scores, American usage (“The score is two to nothing.”)

null: used technically to refer to an object or idea related to nothingness. The 0th aleph number ( ) is pronounced “aleph-null”.

love: in tennis, badminton, squash and similar sports (origin disputed, often said to come from French l’œuf, “egg”; but the Oxford English Dictionary mentions the phrase for love, meaning nothing is at risk)

zilch, nada (from Spanish), zip: used informally when stressing nothingness; this is true especially in combination with one another (“You know nothing—zero, zip, nada, zilch!”)

nix: also used as a verb


ace: in certain sports and games, as in tennis or golf, indicating success with one stroke, and the face of a die or playing card with one pip





brace, from Old French “arms” (the plural of arm), as in “what can be held in two arms”.


deuce: the face of a die or playing card with two pips



trey: the face of a die or playing card with three pips



cater: (rare) the face of a die or playing card with four pips



cinque: (rare) the face of a die or playing card with five pips



half a dozen

sice: (rare) the face of a die or playing card with six pips










12: a dozen (first power of the duodecimal base), used mostly in commerce

13: a baker’s dozen

20: a score (first power of the vigesimal base), nowadays archaic; famously used in the opening of the Gettysburg Address: “Four score and seven years ago…” The Number of the Beast in the King James Bible is rendered “Six hundred threescore and six”.

50: half a century, literally half of a hundred, usually used in cricket scores.

100: a century, also used in cricket scores.

120: a great hundred (twelve tens; as opposed to the small hundred, i.e. 100 or ten tens), also called small gross (ten dozens), both archaic; also sometimes referred to as duodecimal hundred

144: a gross (a dozen dozens, second power of the duodecimal base), used mostly in commerce

1000: a grand, colloquially used especially when referring to money, also in fractions and multiples, e.g. half a grand, two grand, etc.

1728: a great gross (a dozen gross, third power of the duodecimal base), used mostly in commerce

10,000: a myriad (a hundred hundred), commonly used in the sense of an indefinite very high number

100,000: a lakh (a hundred thousand), loanword used mainly in Indian English

10,000,000: a crore (a hundred lakh), loanword used mainly in Indian English

10100: googol (1 followed by 100 zeros), used in mathematics; not to be confused with the name of the company Google (which was originally a misspelling of googol)

10googol googolplex (1 followed by a googol of zeros)

10googolplex googolplexplex (1 followed by a googolplex of zeros)

Combinations of numbers in most sports scores are read as in the following examples:

1–0 British English: one nil; American English: one-nothing, one-zip, or one-zero

0–0 British English: nil-nil, or nil all; American English: zero-zero or nothing-nothing, (occasionally scoreless or no score)

2–2 two-two or two all; American English also twos, two to two, even at two, or two up.)


Annex 2 Different ways of writing dates


Most common pronunciation method – Alternative methods

1 BC – (The year) One Before Christ (BC)

1 before the Common era (BCE)

1 – (The year) One – Anno Domini (AD) 1

1 of the Common era (CE)

In the year of Our Lord 1

235 – Two thirty-five – Two-three-five

Two hundred (and) thirty-five

911 – Nine eleven – Nine-one-one

Nine hundred (and) eleven

999 – Nine ninety-nine – Nine-nine-nine

Nine hundred (and) ninety-nine

Triple nine

1000 – One thousand – Ten hundred


Ten aught

Ten oh

1004 – One thousand (and) four – Ten oh-four

1010 – Ten ten – One thousand (and) ten

1050 – Ten fifty – One thousand (and) fifty

1225 – Twelve twenty-five – One-two-two-five

One thousand, two hundred (and) twenty-five


1900 – Nineteen hundred – One thousand, nine hundred

Nineteen aught

1901 – Nineteen oh-one – Nineteen hundred (and) one

One thousand, nine hundred (and) one

Nineteen aught one

1919 – Nineteen nineteen – Nineteen hundred (and) nineteen

One thousand, nine hundred (and) nineteen

1999 – Nineteen ninety-nine – Nineteen hundred (and) ninety-nine

One thousand, nine hundred (and) ninety-nine

2000 – Two thousand – Twenty hundred

Two triple-oh

2001 – Two thousand (and) one – Twenty oh-one

Twenty hundred (and) one

Two double-oh-one

Two oh-oh-one

2009 – Two thousand (and) nine – Twenty oh-nine

Twenty hundred (and) nine

Two double-oh-nine

Two oh-oh-nine

2010 – Two thousand (and) ten

Twenty ten – Twenty hundred (and) ten


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