Periphrasis  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In linguistics, periphrasis (Greek peri as a preposition means "around, about, beyond") is a device by which a grammatical category or grammatical relationship is expressed by a free morpheme (typically one or more function words modifying a content word), instead of being shown by inflection or derivation. For example, the English future tense is periphrastic: it is formed with an auxiliary verb (shall or will) followed by the base form of the main verb. Another example is the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives, when they are formed with the words more and most rather than with the suffixes -er and -est: the forms more beautiful and most beautiful are periphrastic, while lovelier and loveliest are not.

Periphrasis is a characteristic of analytic languages, which tend to avoid inflection. Even synthetic languages, which are highly inflected, sometimes make use of periphrasis to fill out an inflectional paradigm that is missing certain forms.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Periphrasis" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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