What is an impersonal sentence and what are its features?
In many languages there is such a thing as an impersonal sentence. But what is it? Does it have the same structure in different languages?
What is the difference between impersonal sentences and what is it?
One-term sentences are called impersonal, in which the main member does not assume the subject of the action in the nominative case, while calling the state or process of the main action. In sentences of this type there is no grammatical subject as such, since in the predicate itself there is no designation of the actor, which is expressed in the form of the nominative case. Also, the subject cannot be determined through the rest of the sentence.
For example, if in a generic-personal or indefinite-personal sentence the subject was not defined or designated, but it is implied by the context, it is not impersonal in the structure impersonal.Thus, in impersonal sentences, the subject is not only absent in the construction of the structure, but is not implied by the text. An example is a simple impersonal sentence: "Svetalo."
Historical development at different times
The impersonal sentence in different historical epochs had a different appearance. For example, according to A. M. Peshkovsky and D. N. Ovsyaniko-Kulikovsky, the very first impersonal were constructions with a directly impersonal verb. These include the following: "Frost"; "Evening"; "Cold" and so on.
Impersonal sentences in English have the same meaning. (For example: It's cold. - "Cold.") Unlike the Russian version, the English constructions have a subject, but they do not directly indicate the subject.
It is assumed that in more distant times such sentences consisted of two words, i.e. they were two-part, for example: "Frost freezes"; "The weather is getting colder"; "Evening Is Coming." Similar tautological constructions of sentences are also present in modern Russian, for example: “Thunder is booming”.
Why did impersonal sentences appear?
Their occurrence is the result of abstract thinking, since there is a departure of thought from the immediate subject that produces or causes the action.Based on such constructions, you can create an impersonal sentence with a predicate, which is expressed in the impersonal form of verbs. For example: "The wind knocked down a tree" or "The wind knocked down a tree."
According to A. M. Peshkovsky, the appearance of a large number of types of constructions of impersonal sentences is associated with the process of crowding out the name with a verb. What is observed in modern Russian.
A large number of impersonal sentences has become widespread in fiction, in which there are often fragments of a spoken language. The use of such constructions makes it possible to describe various states that are characterized by unmotivated or unconsciousness, thanks to which the actions are given a certain special shade of lightness and calmness. In this case, the process itself is singled out with detachment from the actor himself. It is precisely because of such opportunities that the constructions of impersonal sentences that are used in fiction and colloquial speech are distributed and developed.
How can different members of a sentence be expressed in impersonal constructions?
In such constructions the main member of the sentence can be expressed:
- a personal verb of impersonal meaning;
- impersonal verb;
- the passive short participle, having the form of the neuter;
- a negative word or phrase that expresses denial;
- impersonal predicative word, which is used with and without the infinitive.
The structure of impersonal sentences
Due to the widespread use of such structures, their structure is very diverse:
- With the main member of the sentence no additional words are used. For example: "Evening".
- With the main member of the sentence, additional words in the genitive case are combined. For example: "No noise was heard."
- With the main member of the sentence, additional words should be used in the dative case. For example: "He was not sitting at home."
- With the main member of the sentence, additional words should be used in the instrumental case. For example: "Cold drawn".
- The main member of the proposal requires a direct addition. For example: "Blown car".
Features of different types of sentences
For impersonal verbs that are used as a main member in an impersonal sentence, such as:shakes, sleeps, drizzles, dawns, wants, slumbers, freezes, nauseousand so on - a form is necessary which coincides with the form in the 3rd person singular. And when used in the past tense, the neuter gender form is needed in the singular, for example:it was getting darkand so on. For example: "He was unwell."
However, in their meaning, these verbs do not allow the use of nouns and pronouns in the nominative case. In constructions of this type, the general meaning of the sentence is determined on the basis of the meaning of the impersonal verb. Thus, depending on the chosen verb, such sentences may express the state of the environment and nature, physical and psychological, either of the actor or those around him, necessity, obligation or moral aspect of what is happening.
Personal verb as the main member of the sentence
Constructions in which the main term is expressed by means of a personal verb in an impersonal sense are widespread in Russian. At the same time, such proposals have a fairly large number of options for the structure and value. Personal verbs, which are used in an impersonal form, lose their initial form and are used in the 3rd person singular or in the past tense of the middle gender.
In the Russian language there is a large number of personal verbs that can be used in an impersonal form. For this reason, it is possible to create various constructions with a given verb. Such sentences can express the state of nature, the environment and natural phenomena, spiritual experiences, psychological and physical sensations of the actor, a description of inexplicable phenomena and actions of fictional, fantastic power.
Impersonal predicative words
Often one can come across impersonal constructions in which the main term of a sentence is expressed in an impersonal predicative word. Sometimes these words can be used as the main member of a sentence, but only in conjunction with the infinitive. The meaning of such a construction will be defined as the meaning of the impersonal predicative word itself.
As a rule, impersonal sentences in which there is an impersonal-predicative word with an ending in-about, can be used to designate and characterize the state of the environment and nature, the psychological and physical state of living organisms, indicate the need, the need and opportunity, as well as visual, auditory and psychological perception of the surrounding reality. For example: "Here we finish - and it will be fun."
Features of the use of impersonal predicative words
It should be noted that the impersonal predicative words mentioned earlier are often used in conjunction with the infinitive. In sentences with such a structure, impersonality can disappear depending on the word order. The same change can occur in constructions that use modal words. For example, the shade of impossibility or difficulty. An example is the impersonal sentence: "It is hard for me to argue with that." When changing the order of words, as a rule, impersonality is lost. This is because the infinitive when changing its position, especially when a long pause appears, acquires the functional meaning of the subject.