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SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF DECIDING VERB GROUP IN ENGLISH AND THEIR VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY

M.A Thesis

SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF
DECIDING VERB GROUP IN ENGLISH AND THEIR
VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS
(CÁC ĐẶC ĐIỂM VỀ CÚ PHÁP VÀ NGỮ NGHĨA CỦA
NHÓM ĐỘNG TỪ DECIDING TRONG TIẾNG ANH VÀ
TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG TRONG TIẾNG VIỆT)

PHAM THI YEN
Field: English Language
Code: 60220201

Hanoi, 2017


MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
HANOI OPEN UNIVERSITY


M.A Thesis

SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF
DECIDING VERB GROUP IN ENGLISH AND THEIR
VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS
(CÁC ĐẶC ĐIỂM VỀ CÚ PHÁP VÀ NGỮ NGHĨA CỦA
NHÓM ĐỘNG TỪ DECIDING TRONG TIẾNG ANH VÀ
TƯƠNG ĐƯƠNG TRONG TIẾNG VIỆT)

PHAM THI YEN
Field: English Language
Code: 60220201
Supervisor: NGUYEN THI THU HUONG

Hanoi, 2017


CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY
I, the undersigned, hereby certify my authority of the study project report
entitled “The syntactic and semantic features of DECIDING verb group in English
and their Vietnamese equivalents” submitted in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of Master in English Language. Except where the
reference is indicated, no other person’s work has been used without due
acknowledgement in the text of the thesis.
Hanoi, 2017

Pham Thi Yen

Approved by
SUPERVISOR

(Signature and full name)
Date:

i


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
First of all, I would like to sincerely thank my supervisor Mrs. Nguyen Thi


Thu Huong who instructed me directly, shared experiences, and removed
difficulties which arose during the process of writing my thesis.
Secondly, my special gratitude goes to Assoc.Prof. Dr. Hoang Tuyet Minh
for support and encouragement.
Thirdly, I sincerely thank all the lecturers of the Hanoi Open University,
especially the lecturers in the Faculty of Post Graduate Studies who have been
teaching and conveying to me the enthusiastic guidance and valuable teaching and
tremendous assistance and skills in the learning process.
Fourthly, I also send my deep gratitude to my friends, colleagues and
students at Lao Cai high school for gifted students who have assisted me in
collecting the data and provided valuable resources to help me complete my thesis.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to family members who
supported me and contributed to the completion of my study.

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ABSTRACT
DECIDING verb group is used regularly and flexible in daily
communication, but the significant meaning of the concept of DECIDING verb
group is still misunderstood by Vietnamese people. Therefore, the author thinks the
study on the subject of DECIDING verb group in Vietnamese and English is helpful
for improving the knowledge of learners as well as the students learning English in
general. This paper is to study the DECIDING verb group terms of syntactic and
semantic features in English and their Vietnamese equivalents. To compensate for
this, we need to develop the DECIDING verb group for learners to raise their
awareness of how words are formed and related to each other, such as synonyms,
antonyms and uses of DECIDING verb group. Nevertheless, teaching the
DECIDING verb group as a discrete topic or introducing learning strategies is still
rare in High Schools. Sum up, the thesis is expected to help Vietnamese learners of
English learn, translate and use the DECIDING verb group in English effectively.

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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

A
Adj
Adj.P

Adverbial
Adjective
Adjective phrase

Adv
C

Adverb
Complement

S

Subject

sb
sth

Somebody
Something

V
L1
L2
NP
=

Verb
First language
Second language
Noun phrase
equal to

PP
Prep.
*

Prepositional phrase
Preposition
Wrong sentence

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY ...........................................................................i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ....................................................................................... ii
ABSTRACT .............................................................................................................. iii
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ....................................................................................iv
TABLE OF CONTENTS ............................................................................................ v
Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................... 1
1.1 Rationale for the research...................................................................................... 1
1.2 Aims and objectives of the research ..................................................................... 1
1.3 Research questions ................................................................................................ 2
1.4. Method of the study ............................................................................................. 2
1.5. Scope of the research ........................................................................................... 3
1.6. Significance of the study ................................................................................... 4
1.7. Design of the study............................................................................................... 4
Chapter 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ........................................................................... 6
2.1. Previous studies .................................................................................................... 6
2.2. Semantic and syntactic features .......................................................................... 7
2.2.1. Theory of syntax ............................................................................................... 7
2.2.2. Theory of semantics .......................................................................................... 8
2.3. Overview of English verb ................................................................................... 9
2.3.1. Definition of English verb ................................................................................. 9
2.3.2. Classification of English verb ......................................................................... 10
2.4. Classification of sentences ................................................................................. 12
2.4.1 In terms of sentence pattern ............................................................................. 12
2.4.2. In terms of sentence elements ......................................................................... 13
2.4.2.1 Syntactic features of sentence elements ........................................................ 13
2.4.2.2. Semantic features of sentence elements ....................................................... 15
2.5. Overview of DECIDING verbs .......................................................................... 16
2. 6. Summary ........................................................................................................... 17
Chapter 3: SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF DECIDING VERB
GROUP IN ENGLISH AND THEIR VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS ................ 18
3.1. Syntactic and semantic features of the DECIDING verb group in English ....... 18
3.1.1. Syntactic features of the DECIDING verb group in English .......................... 18
3.1.1.1. In terms of sentence pattern ......................................................................... 18

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3.1.1.1.1. SV type ...................................................................................................... 18
3.1.1.1.2. SVO type ................................................................................................... 19
3.1.1.1.3.SVOC type ................................................................................................. 20
3.1.1.1.4. SVOA type ............................................................................................... 20
3.1.1.1.5.SVOO type ................................................................................................. 20
3.1.1.2. In terms of sentence element ........................................................................ 21
3.1.2. Semantic features of DECIDING verb groups in English .............................. 24
3.1.2.1. Decide verb in English ................................................................................. 25
3.1.2.2. Determine verb in English ........................................................................... 26
3.1.2.3. Resolve verb in English ............................................................................... 27
3.1.2.4. Plan verb in English ..................................................................................... 27
3.1.2.5. Choose verb in English ................................................................................ 28
3.1.2.6. Select verb in English................................................................................... 29
3.1.2.7. Pick verb in English ..................................................................................... 30
3.1.2.8. Appoint verb in English ............................................................................... 30
3.1.2.9. Elect verb in English .................................................................................... 30
3.1.2.10. Vote verb in English................................................................................... 32
3.2. DECIDING verb group in English and their Vietnamese equivalents .............. 32
3.2.1. In terms of their syntactic features .................................................................. 32
3.2.1.1 In terms of their sentence patterns ................................................................ 32
3.2.1.2 In terms of their sentence elements ............................................................... 33
3.2.2. In terms of their semantic features .................................................................. 35
3.2.2.1. Decide meaning and their Vietnamese equivalents ..................................... 37
3.2.2.2. Determine meaning and their Vietnamese equivalents ................................ 38
3.2.4.3. Resolve meaning and their Vietnamese equivalents .................................... 39
3.2.2.4. Plan meaning and their Vietnamese equivalents.......................................... 39
3.2.2.5. Choose meaning and their Vietnamese equivalents ..................................... 39
3.2.2.6. Select meaning and their Vietnamese equivalents ....................................... 40
3.2.2.7. Pick meaning and their Vietnamese equivalents.......................................... 40
3.2.2.8. Appoint meaning and their Vietnamese equivalents ................................... 40
3.2.2.9. Elect meaning and their Vietnamese equivalents ........................................ 40
3.2.2.10. Vote meaning and their Vietnamese equivalents ....................................... 40
3.3. Summary ............................................................................................................ 41

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Chapter 4: COMMON ERRORS MADE BY STUDENTS AT LAO CAI HIGH
SCHOOL FOR GIFTED STUDENTS WHEN USING DECIDING VERB GROUP
IN ENGLISH ............................................................................................................ 42
4.1 Survey questionnaire ........................................................................................... 42
4.1.1. Subject ............................................................................................................. 42
4.1.2. Questionnaires ................................................................................................. 42
4.1.3. Procedure......................................................................................................... 43
4.2. Common errors made by students at Lao Cai High School For Gifted Students
when using DECIDING verb group in English ........................................................ 45
4.2.1. Common errors made by learners of English.................................................. 45
4.2.2. Causes of committing errors ........................................................................... 47
4.3. Suggestions for teaching and learning when using DECIDING verb group in
English ....................................................................................................................... 49
4.3.1. Suggestions for teaching DECIDING verb group in English ......................... 49
4.3.2. Suggestions for learning DECIDING verb group in English ......................... 52
4.4 Summary ............................................................................................................. 52
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION .................................................................................. 54
5.1 Concluding remark .............................................................................................. 54
5.2. Limitations ......................................................................................................... 55
5.3. Suggestions for further researchers .................................................................... 55
REFERENCES .......................................................................................................... 56
IN VIETNAMESE .................................................................................................... 57
APPENDIX ............................................................................................................... 58
POSSIBLE ANSWERS FOR SURVEY TESTS...................................................... 60

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Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Rationale for the research
The misunderstanding of using the DECIDING verb group causes many
problems to English users. In addition, the wide diversity of DECIDING verb group
sometimes makes them confused and they have difficulties when using them
effectively to get target communication in speaking as well as writing. Among verbs
of English, we find that the verbs decide, determine, resolve, plan, pick, select,
choose, elect, appoint and vote are quite frequently used. These verbs can occur in
different syntactic patterns that reflect various meanings in communication. They
can occur in the same syntactic patterns, but may have different meanings
depending on the situation in which they are used.
Many problems have been faced by learners when they use this group of
verbs. They often feel confused to choose the right verb and make errors in
using them.
Moreover, some researchers have been done about many kinds of verbs but
research of DECIDING verb group has not been done. For these reasons, we would
like to choose the study of DECIDING verb group for my thesis topic to study more
about the DECIDING verb group with the hope of helping Vietnamese users to find
out how to use these verbs accurately and correctly from the analysis of their
syntactic and semantic features with reference to their equivalents in Vietnamese.
That is why the subject “SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF
DECIDING VERB GROUP IN ENGLISH AND THEIR VIETNAMESE
EQUIVALENTS” is chosen to study for the thesis. We hope to contribute a small
part in studying and teaching these verbs in English. In this study, DECIDING verb
group is described and analyzed in contexts and situations. Hence, we do hope that
the thesis will be an useful reference, to the extent possible, for teaching and
learning English and Vietnamese as foreign languages.
1.2 Aims and objectives of the research
This research is conducted to achieve the targets of finding out syntactic and
semantic features of English DECIDING verb group and Vietnamese equivalents as
well as suggesting some possible implications for teaching them to students at Lao
Cai high school for gifted students who study English as a foreign language.
Objectives of research

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To achieve the above-mentioned aims, the following objectives can be put
forward:
+ To point out the syntactic and semantic features of DECIDING verb group in
English in order to help learners of English use these words effectively.
+ Pointing out the similarities and differences of the DECIDING verb group in
English and their Vietnamese equivalents in terms of syntactic and semantic
features.
+ To suggest some possible implications of teaching, learning and translating
English DECIDING verb group at Lao Cai high school for gifted students.
1.3 Research questions
In this study, the author is going to investigate the semantic and syntactic
features of the English DECIDING verb group as well as their equivalents in
Vietnamese by reading through a great number of sources such as books,
dictionaries… While analyzing the entire terms, conclusion will be pointed towards
what these above-mentioned features are and what pedagogical applications should
be suggested. Such knowledge has to base on the ways grammarians and linguists
of each time study the DECIDING verb group particularly and it is what the study
aims at in the first place. In order to gain the aims of the study, the thesis is
expected to find out the answers for the following questions:
1. What are the syntactic and semantic features of the English DECIDING verb
group in English?
2. What are the similarities and differences of the DECIDING verb group in English
and their Vietnamese equivalents in terms of syntactic and semantic features?
3. What are suggestions of teaching and learning English DECIDING verb group
for Vietnamese learners of English at Lao Cai high school for gifted students?
1.4. Method of the study
The study is planned to describe and analyse some syntactic and semantic
features of the DECIDING verb group in English as well as their Vietnamese
equivalents. To meet the demand of the objectives, this study is going to choose
English as the source language and Vietnamese, the target one.
The methods are used in this study include descriptive and contrastive
analysis ones.
The descriptive method is exploited to search for the syntactic and semantic
features of the eight verbs of the DECIDING verb group.

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Besides, the contrastive analysis method is useful to uncover the Vietnamese
equivalents of these eight English verbs with different senses. In particular, the data
were collected from different sources such as dictionaries, novels, news, books.
The verbs are analyzed in detail beginning with DECIDING followed by
decide, determine, resolve, plan,pick,select, choose, elect, appoint and vote. Each of
these verbs is described in a seperate section, and the anlysis was conducted with a
view to discovering such aspects of each verb as its syntactics, semantics performed
by each of these verbs. The analysis is believed to contribute to a deeper
understanding of the eight English verbs. The componential analysis will be applied
to analyze the data.
1.5. Scope of the research
The study is an attempt to explain the meanings conveyed by the DECIDING verb
group in English with reference to their Vietnamese equivalents within traditional
theoretical framework. The prototypical sense, derived meanings, and metaphorical
extensions of the verb are taken into account. This investigation is based on the
author’s manual corpus of structure SV, SVO, SVOC and SVOO of DECIDING
verb group in English in terms of semantic and syntactic features. In addition, the
applications of this work will, hopefully, contribute greatly to find out appropriate
methods to teaching English DECIDING verb group in Vietnam and make changes
how Vietnamese learners of English not only in their study at school as a
compulsory subject but also in their daily use of English as a foreign language. As
mentioned previously, regarding English lexical terms, students often learn English
words’ definitions separately with their actual uses. In fact, teachers and students
often make their own examples without collecting and analyzing examples of
collocations indicating how native speakers combine some words with each other
while others are not used frequently. They also have difficulty in using the words in
the conversation, in contexts. Therefore, this study suggests them about the
definitions of DECIDING verb group, different syntactic and semantic types of verb
and discovers the rules to make use of them. The effects will be vital to students and
should be encouraged to be applied at school as well as for learners of English.

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1.6. Significance of the study
Theoretically, it is true that lexical aspect has been given little decision so far
and teachers instead only pay attention to grammar or other aspects. In order to
overcome such a trouble, the research is carried out in order to offer needed
knowledge as to syntactic and semantic features of the English DECIDING verb
group. By providing an innovative approach to learning English lexical terms, the
author expects to change how students learn English words as well as how teachers
change their traditional methods of teaching vocabulary. If words are separated
from their specific contexts and are exposed to students only through their meanings
in dictionaries, it is not easy for these 2nd language users to obtain the real
meanings of the words in different cases. This study also contributes to verifying
significance related to semantic theory in componential analysis by working on a
certain synonymic group of verbs. It proves that lexical semantics is an important
area in linguistics.
Practically, this study's findings and conclusion would make great
contributions to raise the importance of studying DECIDING verb group with
reference to their Vietnamese equivalents. First of all, when students study about
collocations, they might learn them by heart, however, the main problem will lie in
applications of these words in appropriate contexts. Therefore, learning about the
syntactic and semantic features of these verbs is the beginning of the whole process.
The main step is to understand comprehensively how they are applied in diverse
situations and students can only do this by analyzing examples made by native
speakers, not their own. This research offers them a method to do this. Secondly,
regarding translation, students will have problems with understand the meanings if
they learn the words’ definitions separately with its locations and meanings. This
study’s implications are to deal with these issues in hope that will help students
overcome their troubles.
1.7. Design of the study
This study is organized into five chapters.
Chapter 1 – INTRODUCTION – gives a brief overview of the research with
the rationale for choosing the topic of the research, aims, objectives, scope,
significance of the thesis and structural organization of the thesis.
Chapter 2 – LITERATURE REVIEW – presents the previous studies relating

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to the research area and theoretical background employed for conducting the
thesis and describes in detail all research-governing orientations and research
methods.
Chapter 3 – SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC FEATURES OF DECIDING
VERB GROUP IN ENGLISH AND THEIR VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS –
shows syntactic and semantic features of the DECIDING verb group in English and
compare similarities and differences of DECIDING verb group in English and their
Vietnamese equivalents
Chapter 4 COMMON ERRORS MADE BY STUDENTS AT LAO CAI
HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIFTED STUDENTS WHEN USING DECIDING VERB
GROUP IN ENGLISH: shows the research implications for teaching and learning
English and common errors made by students as a foreign language can be found as
the last part of this chapter.
Chapter 5 – CONCLUSION – makes a brief summary of the whole thesis,
points out some limitations and give recommendation as well as suggestions for a
further study.
References come at the end of the study.

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Chapter 2
LITERATURE REVIEW
This chapter provides an overview of the theoretical background as well as
relevant knowledge and summaries of previous research’s findings and conclusion
associated with the theme of the research. In other words, the review is to explain
several related terms and definitions as to semantics, syntax, collocation, lexical
unit and approach, verb and structures with the DECIDING verb group These later
would further highlight features conducted of the study as well as suggest an array
of possible implications for teaching the English DECIDING verb group in general
and teaching them to Vietnamese students at Lao Cai high school for gifted students
in particular.
2.1. Previous studies
In English, R.M.W DIXON (1991) studied the broad sense and narrow sense of
these verbs in new approach to English grammar on semantic principles. In
Vietnam, Professor Tran Huu Manh (2008) analyzed the fundamentals of English
traditional syntax, Hanoi National University publication. Some studies of
Vietnamese researchers have found and tend to make comparisons between ways of
using verbs they chose. Moreover, thanks to this, when these authors presented their
conclusion, their findings can be viewed on a more comprehensive scale.
First of all, Do Thi Toan (2016) investigated deeply into the lexical and
semantic verbs: look, see and watch as she still saw greater opportunities to open
more details about the analyses of structures and functions of verbs despite various
studies came previously and compare with Vietnamese. Toan pointed out how
Vietnamese learners of English and examiners paid their attention to the differences
between syntactic and grammatical errors while acquiring English DECIDING verb
group, figuring out they almost consider these notions one type of error.
Secondly, the researcher TRẦN VĂN CHƯƠNG (2010) provides
Vietnamese learners with a comprehensive description and analysis of the semantic
and syntactic features of saying verbs used in political documents in English and
Vietnamese. The writer also studied and analyzed ten verbs in English, including
assure, tell, promise, pledge, ask, urge, declare, announce, congratulate and thank
and a number of their Vietnamese equivalents. Semantically, saying verbs are used
to convey the speaker’s message to the receiver in a verbal or non-verbal way. And

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these verbs are classified into five different groups, such as asserting, committing,
directing, declaring, and expressing.
Thirdly, NGUYỄN THỊ XUÂN THỨ (2011) focused on eight SVs in
syntactic and semantic features and it can be seen that we have taken English to be
the target language and Vietnamese the source language. Besides, there are some
dissertations of Vietnamese learners about verbs and some related issues to our
study which can be listed as Trần Thị Diệu Anh , Lưu Thị Mỹ Hạnh. Lê Lan
Phương and Nguyễn Thị Tố Nga. In addition, there have been a great number of
dictionaries such as: Từ điển Anh-Anh-Việt”(2008); Từ điển Anh-Anh-Việt”
(2000); published by Publishing House of Cultural and Informatics, Oxford
Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2003); Dictionary of Contemporary English (2003)
in which mentioned about DECIDING verbs.However, none of the above studies
focus on the syntactic and semantic features of DECIDING verb group in detail and
find out how to use DECIDING verb group in the sentence. That is the reason why
decided to research is conducted with title: SYNTACTIC AND SEMANTIC
FEATURES OF DECIDING VERB GROUP IN ENGLISH AND THEIR
VIETNAMESE EQUIVALENTS.
These studies can be considered as sources to analyze for details and based
on them to find out more features in DECIDING verb group.
2.2. Semantic and syntactic features
2.2.1. Theory of syntax
Syntax A reasonable understanding of the evolution of language is that syntax
developed slowly from minimally-syntactical utterances. Syntax links names and
actions as a simulation of the order of events in the real world. Syntax is the basis of
verbal reasoning. Syntax has developed differently in different languages.
Increasing complexity of sentences accommodates an increasing need for more
detailed communications. Syntax provides selective advantage to humans who
faced variable and complex demands and who made more flexible and complex
statements to each other to cope with survival challenges. Syntax is the form of
language that admits any content. The content may be literal or factual. The content
may be an invention, a fictional story that gains credibility by being inserted into
proper syntax. Humans are confused or alarmed by improper syntax, but will often
accept fabricated contents with little resistance or with demonstrable appreciation.
You could argue that there are two main uses of language: one is to inform; the

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other is to deceive. Within traditional grammar, the syntax of a language is
described in terms of a taxonomy of the range of the range of different types of
syntactic structures found in the language. at phrases and sentences are built up of a
series of constituents (i.e. syntactic units), each of which belongs to a
specific grammatical category and serves a specific grammatical function. Given
this assumption, the task of the linguist analyzing the syntactic structure of any
given type of sentence is to identify each of the constituents in the sentence, and
(for each constituent) to say what category it belongs to and what function it serves.
For example, in relation to the syntax of a simple sentence like: Students protested
vehemently. It would traditionally be said that each of the three words in the
sentence belongs to a specific grammatical category (students being a
plural noun, protested a past tense verb, and vehemently an adverb) and that each
serves a specific grammatical function (protested being a predicate, students being
its sole argument and functioning as the subject of protested, and vehemently being
an adjunct – i.e. an expression which provides additional information about the
time, place or manner of an event). Theory of syntax is a source of studying
syntactic features in general and DECIDING verb group in particular.
2.2.2. Theory of semantics
Semantics is a branch of linguistics, which is the study of language; it is an
area of study interacting with those of syntax and phonology. A person's linguistic
abilities are based on knowledge that they have. One of the insights of modern
linguistics is that speakers of a language have different types of linguistic
knowledge, including how to pronounce words, how to construct sentences, and
about the meaning of individual words and sentences. To reflect this, linguistic
description has different levels of analysis. So - phonology is the study of what
sounds combine to form words; syntax is the study of how words can be combined
into sentences; and semantics is the study of the meanings of words and sentences.
If not most, at least, many introductions to semantics begin by asking the
following question. This seems like a sensible way to start a course on semantics, so
we can begin by looking at some of the answers that different authors provide.
Something that can be noticed is that there is no complete agreement. For some,
semantics concerns the study of meaning as communicated through language, while
for some others, semantics studies all aspects of meaning and they have to add the
label “linguistic” to arrive at a more precise definition. This distinction, however, is

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not generally given much importance and leaving aside special formulations,
probably all authors would agree with Kreidler’s definition (to choose just one of
them): linguistic semantics is the study of how languages organize and express
meanings. This, however, leaves us with a second question: what do we understand
by “meaning”? What is that “meaning” that is organized and expressed by
languages? In very general terms, speaking consists of communicating information:
somebody (the speaker) has something in his/her mind (an idea, a feeling, an
intention, whatnot), and decides to communicate it linguistically. Vocal noises are
then emitted that are heard by a second person (the hearer), who “translates” these
noises back into ideas, with the result being that this hearer somehow “knows” what
the first person had in mind. That “something” that was at first in the speaker’s
mind and now is also in the hearer’s mind is what we call meaning. What can it be?
The problem is that it can be virtually anything: objects (concrete, abstract or
imaginary), events and states (past, present, future or hypothetical), all sort of
properties of objects, feelings, emotions, intentions, locations, etc. We can talk
about anything we can think of (or perhaps almost). And if we were to arrive at a
rough idea of what meaning is, we would nevertheless have another list of questions
waiting in line. Theory of semantic is a base that studies semantic features of
DECIDING verb group.
2.3. Overview of English verb
2.3.1. Definition of English verb
According to R.M.W.Dixon (1991) defines that “a verb is the center of a
clause”. A verb refer to some activity and there must be a number of participants
who have roles in that activity as: Sinbad carried the old man; or it may refer to a
state, and there must be a participant to experience the state as: My leg aches.
A set of verbs is grouped together as one semantic type partly because they
require the same set of participant roles.
John gave a bouquet to Mary, Jane lent the Saab to Bill.
Or:
The women’s Institutes supplied the soldiers with socks.
(R.M.W.Dixon,1991: 9)
All attention verbs take a Perceiver and an Impression (that which is seen or
heard), as in:
I heard the crash, I witnessed the accident, I recognised the driver’s face.
(R.M.W.Dixon,1991: 9)

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Affect verbs are likely to involve an Agent, a Target, and something which is
manipulated by the Agent to come into contact with the target which I call manip. A
manip can always be stated, although it often does not have to be. For examples:
John rubbed the glass (with a soft cloth).
Mary sliced the tomato (with her new knife).
Tom punched Bill (with his left fist).
(R.M.W.Dixon,1991: 9)
We are here working at the semantic level, and it should be stressed that each
type has a quite distinct set of roles. There is nothing in common
between Gift (that which is transferred from one owner to another) and Impression
(an object or activity that is seen or heard) or Perceiver (a person who receives
visual or auditory sense impressions) or Agent (a person who wields a Manip to
come into contact with a Target), and so on.
According to Merrian-webster, verb is a word that characteristically is the
grammatical center of a predicate and expresses an act, occurrence, or mode
of being, that in various languages is inflected for agreement with the
subject, for tense, for voice, for mood, or for aspect, and that typically has
rather full descriptive meaning and characterizing quality but is sometimes
nearly devoid of these especially when used as an auxiliary or linking verb.
In most languages, verbs are parts of speech expressing existence, action, or
occurrence. Verbs are used to indicate the actions, processes, conditions, or states
of beings of people or things.
2.3.2. Classification of English verb
According to R. Quirk et al ( 1985), verbs are divided into two types. They
are intensives verbs and extensive verbs.
Extensive verbs are most other verbs, they do not have subject compliment.
Extensive verbs are used to say what the subject is doing. It covers a wider area; it
takes the information away from the subject. Words or phrases, which are followed
by an extensive verb work as the verb’s object. They apply the verb, not the subject
as in:
He stayed very quiet.
( Quirk, Randolph, 1985:55)
Extensive verbs include three small types: monotransive, complex transitive
and ditransitive.

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Ditransitive verbs are verbs which take a subject and two objects or have the
strucures ‘ SVOO’’. According to certain linguistic consideration, these objectives
may be called direct, indirect objectives, or primary and secondary objectives as in
the following examples:
I must send my parents an anniversary card. (SVOO)
In contrast, monotransitive verbs take only one object and appear in the
structure SVO as in the following examples
That lectures bored me. (SVO)
( Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 721)
Verbs requires both a direct object and another object complement is complex
transitive verbs. Complex transitive verbs appear in the structure “ SVOC’’ or
‘SVOA’’. In a complex- transitive construction, the object complement identifies a
quality or attributes pertaining to the direct object. Let’s consider the following
examples:
Most students have found her reasonably helpful. (SVOC)
You can put the dish on the table. (SVOA)
( Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 721)
The verb is perhaps the most important part of the sentence. A verb states
what is happening in the sentence. Finite verbs locate the condition or action of the
verb in a specific time frame: past, present or future and have a specific tense and a
subject with which they grammatically agree. A complete sentence must contain a
finite verb. Verbs create the relationship between the subject and the object of the
verb.
In a command, there is still this relationship with the subject and object
understood. “Go!” (Subject –you- understood, verb “go!” object away– understood.)
The form of the verb must agree with the number of its subject, which will
be a noun or noun group, for example 'They were not home' (as opposed to 'They
was not home'). Confusion can arise when deciding whether the subject is singular
or plural, for example 'This group of students is very clever', or when there are two
subjects, for example 'Ice cream and strawberries are delicious' (not 'is delicious').
Intensive verbs are also called copular verbs, and they are usually followed
by a noun, or noun phrase, and adjective or prepositional phrase. Intensive verbs are
used to describe the subject. It means that the focus is on one thing- the subject

11


only. Intensive verbs appear in the structure SVC or SVA words or phrases, which
are followed by an intensive verb work as the subject compliment and they apply to
the subject, not the verb. Let’s consider the following examples:
Your dinner seem ready( SVC)
My office is in the next building. (SVA)
( Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 721)
Intensive verbs are not take any object. It presents the relationship between
the subject and the subject complementation. The verb in sentenses with subject
complement is a ‘’copular’’ or ( linking verb) , which of itself has littles meaning
but functions as a link between the complement subject.
There are two subgroups:
Current intensive: be, appear, look, feel, remain, keep….
(E. Warrriner, J. & Graham, L.S.1980: 108)
Resulting intensive: become, come, get, go grow, turn…
She grew tired o his complaints. (SVC)
(E. Warrriner, J. & Graham, L.S 1080: 108)
This part is a source to analyze in the chapter three.
2.4. Classification of sentences
2.4.1 In terms of sentence pattern
Sentence classification is carried out in order to get the foundation of studying the
sentence types in the DECIDING verb group in English and Vietnamese in chapter
III.
By eliminating optional adverbials from the clause structures, we have seven clause
types in the classification of the essential core of each clause structure.
S(ubject)

V(erb)

Type
SV
Type
SVO
Type

Someone

was
laughing
enjoys

SVC
Type

country
I

My
mother
The

O(bject(s))

C(omplement) A(dverbial)
[1a]

parties

[2a]

became

totally

[3a]

independent
have

in

12

the [4a]


SVA
Type

been
Mary

gave

SVOO

garden
the visitor

[5a]

A glass of
milk

Type
Most
SVOC people

consider

these books

Type
You
SVOA

must put

all the toys

rather
expensive

[6a]
upstairs

[7a]

Table 2.1: Sentence patterns (Quirk, Randolph, 1985)
Each clause type is associated with a set of verbs. The seven fall naturally
into three main types. There are:
1. A two-element pattern: SV
They are talking.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 721)
2. Three three-element patterns: SV + {O}
That lecture bored me. (SVO)
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 721)
3. Three four-element patterns: SVO + {O, C}
I must send my parents an anniversary card. (SVOO)
Most students have found her reasonably helpful. (SVOC)
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 721)
This set of patterns is the most general classification that can be usefully
applied to the classification of sentence patterns of the DECIDING verb group in
English.
2.4.2. In terms of sentence elements
2.4.2.1 Syntactic features of sentence elements
Subject is the most important element of the clause elements other than the
verb according to Quirk, Randolph (1985). It is the element that is most often
present. It is also the element for which we can find the greatest number of
characteristic features. The subject is normally a noun phrase or a nominal clause, a
pronoun, That-clause, To infinitive or V-ing. A subject is obligatory in finite clauses
except in imperative clauses, where it is normally absent but implied.
Verb is also taken an extremely important role in sentences. It is convenient
to make a further classification of the verbs in these patterns:

13


Monotransitive verbs occurs in type SVO
Transitive verbs

Ditransitive verbs occur in type SVOO
Complex transitive verbs occur in types SVOC and
SVOA

Objects is an indispensable element in a sentence with a transitive verb.
In fact, there are two types of object: direct object (Od) and indirect object
(Oi). An object such as parties in [2a] (My mother enjoys parties) clearly has a
different role in the lause from an object such as the visitor in [5a] (Mary gave the
visitor a glass of milk), and this has been traditionally recognized by applying the
term direct object to the former, and indirect object to the latter. We give priority
here to the distributional fact that whenever there are two objects (in type SVOO),
the former is normally the indirect object, and the latter is direct object. But
although it is more central with regard to position, in other respects the indirect
object is more peripheral than the direct object: it is more likely to be optional, and
may generally be paraphrased by a prepositional phrase functioning as adverbial.
Complements is used in sentence patterns SVC and SVOC. There are also
two types of complements: subject complement (Cs) and object complement (Co).
We can distinguish between the types of complement found in the SVC pattern; ie:
totally independent in:
The country became totally independent.
[3a]
And the type of complement found in the SVOC pattern; ie: rather expensive in:
Most people consider these books rather expensive.
[6a]
The distinction is effectively made by noting that in [3a] the country is
understood to have become a totally independent country, while in [6a] the books
are understood to be considered rather expensive books. In other words, in SVC
clauses the complement applies some attribute or definition to the subject, whereas
in SVOC clauses it applies an attribute or definition to the object. This distinction is
usually denoted by the terms subject complement and object complement
respectively. In these cases, the complement is an adjective phrase, but elsewhere,
where the complement is a noun phrase, the same kind of distinction holds:
Type SVC: The country became a separate nation.
Type SVOC: Most people considered Picasso a genius.

14


2.4.2.2. Semantic features of sentence elements
Quirk, Randolph (1985) shows that the most typical semantic role of a
subject in a clause that has a direct object is that of the agentive participant: that is,
the animate being instigating or causing the happening denoted by the verb:
Margaret is mowing the grass.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 741)
The subject sometimes has the role of external causer; that is it expresses the
unwitting (generally inanimate) cause of an event:
The electric shock killed him.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 743)
It may also have the role of instrument; that is, the entity (generally
inanimate) which an agent uses to perform an action or instigate a process:
A car knocked them down.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 743)
With intransitive verbs, the subject also frequently has the affected role
elsewhere typical of the direct object:
The pencil was lying on the table.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 743)
Besides, the subject may have a recipient role with verbs such as have, own,
possess, benefit (from); the role of positioner with intransitive stance verbs such as
sit, stand, lie, live, stay, remain, and with transitive verbs related to stance verbs
such as carry, hold, keep, wear; the locative, temporal and eventive role.
Direct object has several roles in sentences.
The most typical role of the
direct object is that of the affected participant: a participant (animate or inanimate)
which does not cause the happening denoted by the verb, but is directly involved in
some other way:
Many MPs criticized the Prime Minister.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 741)
The direct object may have a locative role with such verbs as walk, swim, pass,
jump, turn, leave, reach, surround, cross, climb.
Besides, the direct object has a resultant, cognate, and instrumental object.

15


Besides, the most typical role of the indirect object is that of the recipient
participant: i.e, of the animate being that is passively implicated by the happening or
state:
I’ve found you a place.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 741)
It occationally takes an affected role with a few of the verbs that combine with an
eventive object. The most common verb in the latter construction is give:
She gave me a push.
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 742)
Complement is also a very important element in sentences. The typical
semantic role of a subject complement and an object complement is that of attribute.
We can distinguish two subtypes of role for the attribute: identification and
characterization. We can further subdivide attributes into current or existing
attributes (nomally with verbs used statively) and resulting attributes, resulting from
the event described by the verb (with verbs used dynamically).
Branda became their accountant.
(Identification)
Dwight is an honest man.

(Characterization)
(Quirk, Randolph, 1985: 728)

2.5. Overview of DECIDING verbs
In Enlgish, R.M.W DIXON(1991)who studied about the semantic features of
DECIDING verb group such as decide, determine, resolve, plan, appoint, elect,
choose, pick, appoint and vote. In other words, A new approach to English grammar
on semantic principles is one of the study to discuss the definition and semantic
features of DECIDING verb group. The book shows two subtypes. They are
RESOLVE focusing on one particular Course such as decide( on), determine (on),
resolve, plan (with intersects with wanting) and CHOOSE type refers to its
hyponym such as select, pick (out), elect, vote. For verbs in English R.M.W
DIXON (1991) also studies about the semantic features of English verb groups such
as: the BEGINNING group, ATTENTION group, DECIDING group, THINKING
group.etc. This book has two purposes: one purpose is practical: it is meant to be of
service to the general public, both to native speakers of English and to people
learning or teaching English as a second language. The semantic theory is viewed
here as a lexicographic enterprise, which will be also useful as a reference book.
There have been a lot of researchers conducting investigations into verb goups in

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