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A recurrent feature of many languages is the so-called substitutionand representation.The regularities of these syntactic processes as immediately relevant to the problem of sentence-patterning merit special consideration in the theory of English structure with its own traits different from practice in other languages.

Observations on the functional use of the verbs be, do, have, shall (should), will (would), can (could), may (might), must, ought, need and dare, used to, pronominal words such as one, it, that, such, so, and the particles not and to give sufficient grammatical evidence to distinguish between substitution and representation as grammatical idiomaticity in this part of Modern English structure.

Syntactic structures with substitution are, in fact, fixed patterns of complete sentences, always anaphoric in character, as distinguished from representation resulting from non-anaphoric omission or ellipsis.

To avoid the repetition of a word that has already been used in the sentence we often use another word which readily suggests the meaning of the given one. This is substitution, which may be well illustrated, for instance, by the use of the prop-word one replacing a preceding noun in patterns like the following: Poor little rabbit! It was such a little one.

Closely related to substitution is representation, but the two processes of replacing syntactic structures are not quite identical.

Representation seems to be intermediate between ellipsis and substitution. In ellipsis a whole syntactic unit is left off and made implicit, in representation only a part of the syntactic unit is left off, the other remains and stands for the whole. Representation is systematic in character and as such is limited by rather a small number of syntactic patterns.

Substitution and representation are closely akin but not absolutely identical.

In actual speech a sentence may be reduced to a single word-form which will suffice for communication expressing the necessary meaning in a given consituation. This may be a noun, an adjective, a numeral or pronoun, a verb or modal words, an adverb or an interjection and words of affirmation and negation.

Here is an interesting example of a non-aphoristic ellipsis where the necessary meaning is made clear by consituation:

"Where to?" "Class."


"No, Spanish."

"In a hurry?" "Rather."

"What for?"

"Almost ten"

"Well, as long. Call me up" 1.

The true substitute verb is the verb to do.

As a word of a most generalised sense, do can stand for any verb, except be and modal verbs. Used in this function, do will readily substitute: a) the affirmative forms of the Present and Past (Common Aspect), b) the analytical verb-forms (Present Perfect and Past Perfect), c) the Imperative Mood.

Most idiosyncratic in its character, do can also function as an auxiliary-representing verb. In this structural variety its use is restricted to the negative forms of the Present and Past (Common Aspect) and the negative form of the Imperative Mood.

The two uses of the verb do, as functionally different, may be well illustrated by the following examples: Substitution:

"Do you mean that you are going to make him pay that towards this hateful house?' "I do". (Galsworthy)

"Well, he takes good care of himself, I can't afford to take the care of myself that he does". (Galsworthy)

"Then I shall take steps to make you". "Do.". (Galsworthy) "Did you think I dropped my handkerchief on purpose?" "No", cried Jon, intensely shocked.

"Well, I did, of course". (Galsworthy)

"You say so not because you care about me or have done since I came here". (Mitchell)


I wish I could travel more frequently, but I don't. ..."You never saw Boris Strumolovsky?" — "No".—"Well, don't". (Galsworthy)

..."And you did not meet her playing golf or tennis or out riding"? — "I did not". (Galsworthy)

Verb-representation is fairly common in patterns with the verbs to have and to be in any function, e. g.:

"Have you been through my flat?" he asked, pointing to the curtain that divided his sleeping quarters from the section where they were. "No, I haven't". (Gordon)

1 See: A. H. Marekwardt. Introduction to the English Language. New York, 1950, p. 146.

Familiar examples of representation will be found, for instance, in the use of an auxiliary or modal verb instead of an analytical verb-form or a modal phrase of which it is part, e. g.:

Mont caught a little crab, and answered: "That was a nasty one!"

"Please row!"

"I am". (Galsworthy)

... "But why not tell them? They can't really stop us, Fleur!" "They can! I tell you, they can". (Galsworthy)

Function verbs become thus sequence-signals by referring back to specific full verbs or verb-headed structures in the preceding sentence.

Soames took some deep breaths, savouring it, as one might an old wine. (Galsworthy)

"Was Wilfrid here to-night?"

"Yes— no. That is -------- "

His hands clutched each other; he saw her eyes, fix on them, and kept them still.

"Fleur, don't".

"I'm not. He came to the window there..." (Galsworthy)

The infinitive particle to and the negator not may function similarly:

She was all vitality. What a fine catch for some young fellow some day, and her father would make him rich, no doubt, or help to. (Dreiser)

"If you send me away now, I shall go."

"That's what I want to."

"Once I shouldn't have. I should have come back and apologised. I shan't do that now, if you get rid of me." "I don't expect you to", I said. (Ch. Snow)

..."You need at least six months doing absolutely nothing, and feeding as well as you can you're definitely undernourished and without a worry in your head."

"Instead of which," I said, "in a month's time I take the most important examination of my career."

"I should advise you not to." (Ch. Snow)

And here is an example to illustrate the use of the anaphoric word-substitute so:

So Martin thought, and so he spoke when Brissenden urged him to give them hell. (London)

.. .With her cheek to his she said quietly:

"Do you want me to be everything to you before you marry me? If so, I can". (Galsworthy)

With reference to the nominal part of a predicate, so is used with verbs like to be (especially in its non-finite forms), to remain, to seem; it may also occur as a predicative adjunct to an object, and immediately after an adverb.

He had been weak but he will be so no longer.

Drouet's income was insufficient, and likely to remain so.

So is similarly used after verbs like to say, to tell, to think, to hope, to suppose, to believe, etc. In this case it refers to the whole of a preceding sentence.

"The new manager is not as good as we expected"."Well, I told you so but you would not believe me".

"Will your sister be coming to-night?" — "I think so".

"It would be nice if the doctor would let me go out next Sunday.Let's hope so".

"Is the last train gone?" "Yes, I'm afraid so".

Compare the following examples with it and that:

The child is nine years old, though you'd hardly think it.

He thinks the war will be over before Christmas.They all think that.

So occasionally precedes the subject of one of these verbs.

We never got on very well together.So she told me.

In conclusion, attention may be called to the use of so after if.

As in the previous construction, so here refers to a preceding sentence.

In the negative its place is taken by not.

He may be innocent, if so, why did he give himself up? If not, why didn't he tryto escape?

Similarly how so? why so?

It will be important to observe that syntactic structures with substitution are, in fact, fixed patterns of complete sentences, always anaphoric in character, as distinguished from representation resulting from non-anaphoric omission and ellipsis.

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