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‘Strong’, ‘Grasp’, ‘Consequence’: Some observations

At the end of class on Tuesday, November 13, we were asked to further investigate the words ‘strong’, ‘grasp’ and ‘consequence’ in terms of how we would go about describing them grammatically using the tools we had focused on in class. The following are some observations I made during my investigation:



In the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘strong’ is shown to be a noun in the case of a group of strong people. When considering how this noun functions grammatically, it is important to note that it is a collective noun and cannot be made plural. It is also shown to be an adjective, meaning grammatically we have to consider the comparative and superlative forms, in this case ‘stronger’ and ‘strongest’ respectively. As it is a monosyllabic adjective and therefore must take the -er and -est suffixes, I did not need to consult a corpus. In the case of a disyllabic adjective, it can be useful to consult a corpus to see what the most common comparative and superlative forms are, as grammatically speaking, the adjective could take the -er and -est suffixes or the ‘more’ and ‘most’ forms.



‘Grasp’ is shown to be a noun and a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary. I reflected on the plural form and thought that, in terms of my own usage of the word, I would never say ‘grasps’ as a plural of ‘grasp’. I thought about ‘within their grasp’ as an expression and the fact that one can only say ‘I have a good grasp of maths’ in the singular. I decided to use the British National Corpus (BNC) to see if it can in fact be used as a plural. On Sketch Engine, I created a concordance based on the lemma ‘grasp’ as a noun, which can be viewed here. This showed that in the BNC, grasp as a noun is not used in the plural form. As a verb, it is important to note that it is a regular verb, with the past tense being formed with ‘I/you/he/etc. grasped’ and the past participle being ‘grasped’.



The Oxford English Dictionary shows ‘consequence’ to be a noun and a verb. The verb ‘consequence’ is described as rare and obsolete.  In the case of ‘consequence’ as a noun, it can easily be made into the plural form by adding an ‘s’. I created a concordance on Sketch Engine within the BNC based on the lemma ‘consequence’ as a noun, and one can see that it is commonly used. The concordance can be seen here.  

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