In this book, we shall operate with the term “”, though it should be pointed out that the syntactic terminology varies from author to author. Thus, Professor Illiysh operates with the term “phrase”. The definition given by the scholar to the phrase (“every combination of two or more s which is a grammatical unit but is not an analytical of some ”) leaves no doubt as to its equivalence to the term “ ”.
The, along with the , is the main syntactic unit. The smallest combination consists of two members, whereas the largest word combination may theoretically be indefinitely large though this issue has not yet been studied properly.
Despite its cornerstone status for the syntactic theory, the generally recognized definition of the word combination has not been agreed upon: it receives contradictory interpretations both from Ukrainian and Western linguists. The traditional point of view, dating back to Prof. Vinogradov’s works (i.e. to the middle of the 20th century), interprets the word combination exclusively as subordinate unit. Meanwhile, many linguists tend to treat any syntactically organized group of words as word combination regardless the type of relationship between its elements.
As a rule, the word combination is defined negatively, i.e. such “negative” definitions point out what is not a word combination. Obviously, this is hardly an apt approach, but with no other definition at hand, it may be considered acceptable.
Under any definition of the word combination, this unit is, syntactically, a. Therefore, to study its morphological composition in order to clarify combinatorial properties of parts of speech and to consider possibilities of substitution within a word combination is one of the tasks of the syntactic theory.
One of the most spread negative definitions states that the word combination is not communicatively oriented. The observation is absolutely adequate, since absence of communicative orientation is one of the most indisputable properties of the word combination. Thus, the difference between a word combination and ais a fundamental one. A word combination, just like a word, is a means of naming some phenomena or processes. Each component of a word combination can undergo grammatical changes in accordance with grammatical categories represented in it, without destroying the identity of the word combination. For instance, in the word combination sell Newspapers, the first component can change according to the verbal categories of tense, mood, etc., and the second component may be modified according to the category of number. Thus, sells a newspaper, has sold a newspaper, would have sold newspapers are grammatical modifications of one word combination. In this respect, when the is concerned, things are entirely different. The sentence is a unit with every word having its definite . A change in the form of one or more words would produce a new sentence.