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SYNTAX NEGATION seminar 1

1.Which of the following sentences exhibit forms of semantic/ syntactic negation?


His observation is non-scientific and it is also irrelevant./ Bill isn’t interested in syntax
and his friends are not interested in syntax./ He disapproves of mothers going out to
work./ He doesn’t approve of mothers going out to work./ Nikita’s unpleasant face
appeared on TV last Thursday night./ Nikita’s unpleasant face did not appear on TV last
Thursday night./ Nikita’s not very unpleasant face did not appear on TV last Thursday
night./ Nikita’s not very unpleasant face appeared on TV last night./ Nikita’s not very
unpleasant face didn’t appear on TV last night.

2.Translate the following sentences into English, paying attention to the distinction
between full and local negation:
Nu era lipsită de graţie şi de frumuseţe. / Când a aflat vestea, nu s-a simţit deloc
încântat. / Nu cu multă vreme în urmă, toată lumea călătorea cu trăsura. / I-a trebuit nu
puţină iscusinţă să rezolve problema. / Nu îl preferă pe John în mod special. / Îl preferă
pe John, dar nu în mod special. / Nu era neobişnuit de deştept. / Era neobişnuit de
şmecher. / Era el destul de isteţ, dar nu neobişnuit. / Deloc interesat de conferinţă,
domnul Jones s-a ridicat şi a plecat din sală. / Domnul Jones nu era deloc interesat de
discuţiile din sală. / Nu tocmai convinşi de ceea ce auziseră, cei doi fraţi şi-au luat inima
în dinţi şi au protestat. / Nu erau nelămuriţi, ci doar indecişi. / Nu neg că această culoare
mă prinde de minune. / A negat cu tărie orice legătură cu crima comisă cu o seară
înainte. / Nu mică i-a fost mirarea să vadă cât de bine se înţelegeau cei doi.
3. Say whether the following are instances of local or sentence negation by using the
tests for negativity above:
I don’t know much about him. / I can hardly understand what they are saying. / You have
never met her. / I haven’t ever seen such a thing. / Should they not have told her the
truth? / Not infrequently, they go skiing in the mountains. / In no time he was able to
solve the problem. / At no time was he able to solve the problem. / Not always a witty
interlocutor, Jim felt rather at a loss for words. / They caused us no problems. / No
problems were caused after all. / This boy is no good. / Few of them stayed behind. / A
few of them stayed behind.
4. Distinguish between the sentences which exhibit negative insertion or contraction,
negative attraction and negative incorporation:
They didn’t send many students abroad. / I showed him nothing. / Not many women are
famous opera composers. / Not a word fell from her lips. / She said not a word when I
spoke to her. / It didn’t take him a minute to tell her the secret. / Not a minute did it take
him to tell her the secret. / No one ever listens to her. / None of them liked house music. /
Not one of them came to meet her./ They didn’t come to meet her. / I saw nobody. / I
didn’t see anybody./ They never went there./ They didn’t ever tell her what bothered
them. / He should not be released.
5. Paraphrase the following instances of incomplete negation by means of negative
insertion, negative attraction or negative incorporation:
I can barely look into his eyes. / I could hardly wait to hear the news. / This is hardly the
time to buy yourself a new fur coat. / I scarcely ever see her. / Hardly anybody liked
him. / You’ve eaten hardly anything. / I seldom look at her like that. / Few people came
to see her. / You can hardly blame me for your mistakes. / I hardly ever look at those
paintings
Rephrase the following sentences making them emphatic:
I shall never, never trust a man again. / One can have peace in life only by avoiding them
altogether. / A truer word has seldom been spoken! / This nation scarcely ever in the past
faced so great a danger. / There is rarely an opportunity for us to serve the community in
this way. / Nothing like that ever happened in our street before./ We seldom receive such
generous praise. / Ann gave him the use of her flat and lent him a car as well. / She had
no idea he was a man on the run from the police./ We never thought he was that sort of
fellow. / We little suspected when we started our holiday that it would be like this. / You
rarely see such an outstanding bargain. / You shouldn’t wander away from the path under
any circumstances. / I didn’t leave the office at any time. / You must on no account touch
this machinery. / She could rely on nobody but him. / We not only ran into the fog but it
began to rain. / The keys couldn’t be found anywhere.

6.Give the negative / positive counterpart of the following sentences; identify the polarity
items:
We have already had some snow this winter. / They say he once had someone very
close. / Come on, you can still do something about it. / We will see them again
somewhere sometime. / We were somehow surprised by that sudden appearance. / Well, I
hope he’s somewhat wiser now. / I somewhat like his proposal. / I think I can help him
(to) some (extent). / Don’t worry, it will stop hurting before tomorrow. / Susan got a
passing grade in English and her friend did, too. / Alice doesn’t live here any longer/
more. / I don’t feel any better for having had a holiday. / Well, I’m afraid her husband
was never any good. / You needn’t send her anything. / She hardly ever comes here. /This
experiment has revealed something of importance already. / Bob is still living at that
address. / I can understand both of these sentences./ I can understand all of these ten
English words. / Hundreds of students can find somewhere comfortable to live® / Some
of the questions on this test he knew how to answer. / Peter knows some English and so
does John./ Both John and Peter have pretty wives. / Daddy drinks a lot of coffee and
now he misses it quite badly. / I nearly always have to clean it myself. / Almost everyone
of them did well on that exam. / You must pay that fine. / You must be telling lies.
SYNTAX NEGATION home assignment

1.Translate into English, paying attention to the following Negative Polarity Items:
Budge, flinch, bat an eye(lid), give a damn/darn, find a trace, hear a peep, hurt a fly, last a
minute, crack a smile, turn a hair, sleep a wink, touch a drop, leave a stone unturned,
lift/raise/ stir a finger, lay a finger on someone, touch her/him with a ten-foot pole, move
a muscle, see/ feel/ remember a thing, tell/ ask/speak to a soul, say / breathe/ understand a
word, know a single person, have a care/ friend in the world, have/be worth a red cent.

Ion nu e prea deştept, de fapt nimeni din familia lor nu e prea deştept. / N-a putut face el
aşa ceva! Nu e el chiar aşa de deştept! / Nu ştiu ce s-a întâmplat cu ea; n-am văzut-o de
ani de zile. / Ajută-mă, te rog! Nu pot să clintesc din loc pietroiul ăsta. / Se spune că acest
doctor în ştiinţe n-a studiat niciodată nimic nicăieri. / Nouă nu ne-a spus nimeni nimic,
nici unuia dintre noi. / Sunt convinsă că Mark nu s-a deranjat să telefoneze. / Jim e atât
de curajos! Nici n-a clipit măcar o dată. N-a zis nici pâs când doctorul i-a pansat rana. /
Arăţi atât de obosită azi! -Nu e de mirare, n-am închis un ochi toată noaptea (n-am lipit
geană de geană). / A: Bei un pahar de vin? B: Nu, mulţumesc, de când cu ulcerul ăsta, nu
mai pun picătură în gură înainte de masă. / A: Te-a afectat desigur foarte mult plecarea
lui. B: Aşi, nu-mi pasă câtuşi de puţin dacă se întoarce sau nu. / Poliţia a scotocit peste
tot, n-a lăsat cotlon necercetat, încercând să prindă criminalul. / Hotărât lucru, i se
întâmplase ceva îngrozitor, dar ea nu-şi mai amintea absolut nimic şi nu scotea o vorbă. /
Nu ştiu de ce plânge, nu e vina mea, n-am atins-o nici cu un deget! / Era singurul care ar
fi putut s-o facă, dar n-a mişcat un deget să-i salveze! / Era un om tare, a primit vestea
morţii fiului său fără să clipească! / E un om fericit. N-are nici o grijă pe lume, dar nici
para chioară în buzunar. / Nu te lua după el! Părerea lui nu face nici două parale! / Scena
era atât de caraghioasă, încât nu-şi putea ţine râsul. / Să fiu al naibii dacă mai vorbesc cu
el vreodată! / A: A sunat clopoţelul? B: Nu, n-a sunat încă.

2.Translate into Romanian, paying attention to Polarity Items:


No fool like an old fool. / Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you. / Never is a long
word. / No man is wise all the time. / No sooner said than done. / Nothing succeeds like
success. / He won’t make old bones. / Not to put too fine an edge point on it, he’s a pig. /
I had no end of trouble. / He is no end of a fellow. / No hands wanted. / No admittance. /
No entry. / These guys never know whether they’re coming or going. / I couldn’t make
head or tail of it. / Nothing doing! / “Sorry!” “No harm done!” / Nothing daunted, he left
the room. / No trouble at all. / Not that I care, but you really should do something about
it.
3.Identify the contexts that allow for Negative Polarity Items:
a) He admitted saying something to some of the people present. / He denied ever saying
anything to anyone. b) I love asking some funny remarks. / I hate making any
commitments. c) He is anxious to say something. / He is reluctant to ever say anything. d)
He is wrong / unwilling / unable to say anything about it. e) She is the cutest girl anyone
has ever seen.
4. Translate the following into English and comment upon any difficulties of translation
you can think of in relation to negativity:
• Există un mare pericol: să nu degenerezi şi să ajungi să vezi viaţa altfel de cum este. /
Îi era teamă să nu plece el mai devreme şi să uite valiza acasă. / Stau şi păzesc
clădirea şi am grijă să nu izbucnească vreun foc la parter. / Trebuie să te fereşti să nu
se întâmple ceva rău. / N-a venit acasă mai devreme pentru că nu ştia dacă el n-o să
vrea să mănânce în oraş.
• Abia când m-am pomenit bătând în poarta Măgurenilor, încet, slab, fără prea multă
hotărâre, au început să mi se hipertrofieze brutal în minte dimensiunile aventurii în
care mă vârâsem. Nu-mi făcusem mari iluzii, nu mă aşteptam să obţin ceva de la
Carol, după cum nu crezusem că voi fi bruscat, expediat afară. (A. Buzura, Feţele
tăcerii)
• Oricum distanţa care o ţineau faţă de mine nu-mi convenea, mi se părea
ameninţătoare. N-aveam mai nimic comun, nu ne lega o singură amintire, întâmplare,
ceva, nu mi se ivise prilejul să dovedesc, intr-un fel sau altul, că sunt om bun, cu
nevoi ca ei. (A. Buzura, Feţele tăcerii)
• Cu nici unul dintre aceştia N.S. nu se găsea în relaţii deosebit de norocoase, ceea ce
însemna că ei nici nu-şi vorbeau şi nici bineţe nu-şi dădeau. (L. Blaga, Peisaj şi
amintire)
• Nici o clipă nu-mi trecuse prin minte că venind aici, la mânăstire, aş avea nevoie în
bagajele mele de un frac. De fapt, nici nu doream să iau parte la petrecere. (Şt.
Agopian, Tache de catifea)
• Pe locul hotărât se adunase, încă până a nu se face ziuă, atâta lume, cât frunză şi
iarbă, de nu se mai putea mişca; şi bătrânul cu copiii abia găsiră şi ei un colţişor la o
parte de unde să se poată uita şi ei. N-apucară să se aşeze bine şi auziră un sunet de
fluier. (P.Ispirescu, Basme)