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§ 4. The communicative properties of sentences can further be exposed in the light of the theory of actual division of the sentence.

The actual division provides for the informative content of the utterance to be expressed with the due gradation of


its parts according to the significance of their respective role in the context. But any utterance is formed within the framework of the system of communicative types of sentences. And as soon as we compare the communication-purpose aspect of the utterance with its actual division aspect we shall find that each communicative sentence type is distinguished by its specific actual division features, which are revealed first and foremost in the nature of the rheme as the meaningful nucleus of the utterance.

The strictly declarative sentence immediately expresses a certain proposition. By virtue of this, the actual division of the declarative sentence presents itself in the most developed and complete form. The rheme of the declarative sentence makes up the centre of some statement as such. This can be distinctly demonstrated by a question-test directly revealing the rhematic part of an utterance. Cf.: The next instant she had recognised him. → What had she done the next instant?

The pronominal what-question clearly exposes in the example the part "(had) recognised him" as the declarative rheme, for this part is placed within the interrogative-pronominal reference. In other words, the tested utterance with its completed actual division is the only answer to the cited potential question; the utterance has been produced by the speaker just to express the fact of "his being recognised".

Another transformational test for the declarative rheme is the logical superposition. The logical superposition consists in transforming the tested construction into the one where the rheme is placed in the position of the logically emphasised predicate. By way of example let us take the second sentence in the following sequence: And I was very uneasy. All sorts of forebodings assailed me.

The logical superposition of the utterance is effected thus: → What assailed me was all sorts of forebodings.

This test marks out the subject of the utterance "all sorts of forebodings" as the rheme, because it is just this part of the utterance that is placed in the emphatic position of the predicate in the superpositional transform.

Similar diagnostic procedures expose the layer-structure of the actual division in composite syntactic constructions. For instance, in the following complex sentence rhematic question-tests easily reveal the three declarative rhemes on the three consecutive syntactic layers: I knew that Mr, Wade had been very excited by something that he had found out.


Test for the first syntactic layer: What did I know?

Test for the second syntactic layer: What state was Mr. Wade in?

Test for the third syntactic layer: What made him excited? (By what was he excited?)

The strictly imperative sentence, as different from the strictly declarative sentence, does not express by its immediate destination any statement of fact, i.e. any proposition proper. It is only based on a proposition, without formulating it directly. Namely, the proposition underlying the imperative sentence is reversely contrasted against the content of the expressed inducement, since an urge to do something (affirmative inducement) is founded on the premise that something is not done or is otherwise not affected by the wanted action, and, conversely, an urge not to do something (negative inducement) is founded on the directly opposite premise. Cf.:

Let's go out at once! (The premise: We are in.) Never again take that horrible woman into your confidence, Jerry! (The premise: Jerry has taken that horrible woman into his confidence.)

Thus, the rheme of the imperative utterance expresses the informative nucleus not of an explicit proposition, but of an inducement — a wanted (or unwanted) action together with its referential attending elements (objects, qualities, circumstances).

Due to the communicative nature of the inducement addressed to the listener, its thematic subject is usually zeroed, though it can be represented in the form of direct address. Cf.:

Don't try to sidetrack me (J. Braine). Put that dam* dog down, Fleur; I can't see your face (J. Galsworthy). Kindly tell me what you meant, Wilfrid (J. Galsworthy).

Inducements that include in the address also the speaker himself, or are directed, through the second person medium, to a third person (persons) present their thematic subjects explicit in the construction. E.g.:

I say, Bob, let's try to reconstruct the scene as it developed. Please don't let's quarrel over the speeds now. Let her produce the document if she has it.

The whole composition of an ordinary imperative utterance is usually characterised by a high informative value,

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