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Filologiya məsələləri, 2017 
 108
GÜLŞƏN CÜMŞÜDOVA 
Azərbaycan Dövlət Neft və Sənaye Universiteti 
 
THE WORDS OF THE CATEGORY OF STATE 
 
Açar sözlər: hal, kateqoriya, nitq hissəsi, dil, əsas, predikativ, zərflik, təyin, 
funskiya, cümlə 
Key words: state, category, parts of speech, language, main, predicative, 
adverb, attribute, function, sentence  
Ключевые  слова:  состояние,  категория,  часть  речи,  язык,  главная 
часть, предикативный, наречие, определение, функция, предложение 
 
The words of the category of state denote the temporary state condition 
of persons or things.  
The essence of the words asleep, afloat, astir, ablaze, etc. and their 
position in the system of parts of speech is still under discussion. They 
constitute a special part of speech, which may be called “stative” and is 
characterized by the prefix “-a”.  
The main function of the statives is that of predicative and in this case 
they are preceded by a link verb, most usually the verb “be”, but 
occasionally also “fall, keep, feel”. Examples with the link verb “be” are 
very numerous and varied. A few will suffice: 
The child was asleep.  
The whole house was astir.  
Something is afoot.  
Statives are also occasionally found in the function of objective 
predicatives, particularly after the verb “find” or “have” and a noun or 
pronoun, as in the sentences:  
He found his sister alone.  
Then he spoke, and in a moment had his audience afire. 
The basically predicative quality of the statives is equally evident in all 
of these cases. It is somewhat weakened when a stative has the function of 
an attribute following its noun: 
A man alive to social interests.  
And the predicative quality of the stative is further weakened when it 
precedes a noun as its attribute.  
The phrase “be+stative” may sometimes be synonymous with the 
continuous form of the corresponding verb.  For example:  
He is asleep. 
He is sleeping.  


Filologiya məsələləri, 2017 
 109
The existence of the words of the category of state in English on the 
following grounds:  
(1) the meaning of “state” is merely a special variety of the meaning of 
“property” typical of adjectives
(2) words of this category can be preceded by the word more: more 
ashamed, etc. 
(3) they can be modified by adverbs (painfully, alive), by prepositional 
phrases (alive with stars) and they can be the predicative, prepositional or 
detached attribute, and, less frequently, a prepositive attribute.   
In English there is a certain class of words which are still disputable. 
In works of foreign grammarians, they are not considered to be a separate 
part of speech. Some dictionaries published in the United Kingdom and the 
USA refer them to predicative. It is well-known that no grammarians 
mention this kind of part of speech. To this class of words, we include 
aboard, alive, asleep, afraid, aghast, awake and so on. Some Russian 
scientists regard them as a separate part of speech. call them adlinks on the 
analogy of adverbs. These words can be viewed as a part of speech because 
of their following features:  
1. as meaning they denote state  
2. stem building morpheme: it is formed by the help of productive 
prefixal morpheme /a-/ 
3. combinability: these words are exclusively combined with the link-
verb to be and adverbs  
4. Syntactic function: they are always used as predicative.  
They do not have any grammatical category and this is the only 
feature of them which differ them from other parts of speech /notional parts 
are meant/: This part of speech can't be mixed up with adjectives or adverbs 
as some linguists do, because they do not possess the degrees of comparison 
and their combinability is different. "A-" component homonymically 
combines in itself the functions of prefix, preposition and article. - the prefix 
a- can express the meanings of prepositions: away, on, up, out. For example: 
She is asleep - She is sleeping /on/.  
He has gone to the shore - He is ashore.  
This part of speech seems to be more economical as it is seen from 
the examples above. Therefore, it may be one of the reasons of its wide 
usage in Modern English. 
The words of this type are based on several assumptions which are by no 
means self-evident or necessary.  
Among the words signifying properties of nouns there is a specific 
set: the words built up by the prefix – a and denoting different states, mostly 
of temporary duration. They are different from adjectives, because they can’t 


Filologiya məsələləri, 2017 
 110
function as attributes. Their function in the sentence is that of a predicative, 
rarely – post-positional attributes to nouns. They form a closed set of several 
dozen, they don’t have the degrees of comparison. “The streets were alive 
with traffic”, “No man alive could do it”, “Swimmers are afraid of the 
sharks”, “The artist felt ashamed of his bad work”, “They were aware of the 
danger”, “The whole town was astir with the news”, afire, afoot, askew, ajar 
= half-open. 
These kind of words have the following morphological, semantic and 
syntactic characteristics: 
1)  The words of this type denote “states” while adjectives denote 
“qualities”; 
2) 
The words of this type may be characterized by the prefix a- (it 
derives from the Middle English preposition an ‘in, on’): alive, 
asleep, ajar, etc.;
 
3) 
The words of this type do not possess the category of the degrees 
of comparison;
 
4) 
The words of this type are used predicatively only, e.g. He is 
awake.
 
Because of the said features, these words are regarded by some 
grammarians as a separate part of speech which has been variously referred 
to as the category of state words, adlinks, and statives. The number of such 
words does not exceed several dozen. The traditional view of the stative, 
which separates temporary adjectives from other adjectives, does not seem to 
be convincing: temporary adjectives are part and parcel of the adjective class 
as a whole. At the same time, we must admit that these adjectives have 
features (meaning, function) that allow us to assign them to a separate 
subclass of the adjective. But the features examined are not sufficient for the 
distinction of the category of state within the adjective.
 
The words of the category of state is a controversial one. Such 
words as asleep, ablaze, afraid, etc. have been often named adjectives
though they cannot be attributes in a sentence and though their meaning does 
not seem to be that of property.  
(1) Meaning. The meaning of the words of this type is that of a passing 
state a person or thing happens to be in.  
(2) Form. The words of the category of state are invariable.  
(3) Function.  
(a) The words of the category of state most usually follow a link verb 
(was asleep, fell asleep). Occasionally they can follow a noun (man alive). 
They can also sometimes be preceded by an adverb (fast asleep). 
(b)  In the sentence, the words of the category of state are most usually a 
predicative. (he fell asleep). They can also be objective predicative (I found 




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