English Grammar

Grammar terms

  1. absolute used independently of its customary grammatical relationship or
    1. construction, e.g. Weather permitting, I will come.
  2. acronym a word formed from the initial letters of other words, e.g.
    1. NATO.
  3. active applied to a verb whose subject is also the source of the action
    1. of the verb, e.g. We saw him; opposite of passive.
  4. adjective a word that names an attribute, used to describe a noun or
    1. pronoun, e.g. small child, it is small.
  5. adverb a word that modifies an adjective, verb, or another adverb,
    1. expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner,
    2. cause, degree, etc., e.g. gently, accordingly, now, here, why.
  6. agent noun
    1. a noun denoting the doer of an action e.g. builder.
  7. agent suffix
    1. a suffix added to a verb to form an agent noun, e.g. -er.
  8. agree to have the same grammatical number, gender, case, or person as
    1. another word.
  9. analogy the formation of a word, derivative, or construction in
    1. imitation of an existing word or pattern.
  10. animate denoting a living being.
  11. antecedent
    1. a noun or phrase to which a relative pronoun refers back.
  12. antepenultimate
    1. last but two.
  13. antonym a word of contrary meaning to another.
  14. apposition
    1. the placing of a word, especially a noun, syntactically parallel
    2. to another, e.g. William the Conqueror.
  15. article a/an (indefinite article) or the (definite article).
  16. attributive
    1. designating a noun, adjective, or phrase expressing an
    2. attribute, characteristically preceding the word it qualifies,
    3. e.g. old in the old dog; opposite of predicative.
  17. auxiliary verb
    1. a verb used in forming tenses, moods, and voices of other verbs.
  18. case the form (subjective, objective, or possessive) of a noun or
    1. pronoun, expressing relation to some other word.
  19. clause a distinct part of a sentence including a subject (sometimes by
    1. implication) and predicate.
  20. collective noun
    1. a singular noun denoting many individuals; see “collective
    2. nouns” in topic 4.9
  21. collocation
    1. an expression consisting of two (or more) words frequently
    2. juxtaposed, especially adjective + noun.
  22. comparative
    1. the form of an adjective or adverb expressing a higher degree of
    2. a quality, e.g. braver, worse.
  23. comparison
    1. the differentiation of the comparative and superlative degrees
    2. from the positive (basic) form of an adjective or adverb.
  24. complement
    1. a word or words necessary to complete a grammatical
    2. construction: the complement of a clause, e.g. John is (a)
    3. thoughtful (man), Solitude makes John thoughtful; of an
    4. adjective, e.g. John is glad of your help; of a preposition,
    5. e.g. I thought of John.
  25. compound preposition
    1. a preposition made up of more than one word, e.g. with regard
    2. to.
  26. concord agreement between words in gender, number, or person, e.g. the
    1. girl who is here, you who are alive, Those men work.
  27. conditional
    1. designating (1) a clause which expresses a condition, or (2) a
    2. mood of the verb used in the consequential clause of a
    3. conditional sentence, e.g. (1) If he had come, (2) I should have
    4. seen him.
  28. consonant (1) a speech sound in which breath is at least partly
    1. obstructed, combining with a vowel to form a syllable; (2) a
    2. letter usually used to represent (1); e.g. ewe is written with
    3. vowel + consonant + vowel, but is pronounced as consonant (y) +
    4. vowel (oo).
  29. co-ordination
    1. the linking of two or more parts of a compound sentence that are
    2. equal in importance, e.g. Adam delved and Eve span.
  30. correlative co-ordination co-ordination by means of pairs of corresponding words regularly
    1. used together, e.g. either..or.
  31. countable designating a noun that refers in the singular to one and in the
    1. plural to more than one, and can be qualified by a, one, every,
    2. etc. and many, two, three, etc.; opposite of mass (noun).
  32. diminutive
    1. denoting a word describing a small, liked, or despised specimen
    2. of the thing denoted by the corresponding root word, e.g.
    3. ringlet, Johnny, princeling.
  33. diphthong see digraph.
  34. direct object
    1. the object that expresses the primary object of the action of
    2. the verb, e.g. He sent a present to his son.
  35. disyllabic
    1. having two syllables.
  36. double passive
    1. see “double passive” in topic 4.16.
  37. elide to omit by elision.
  38. elision the omission of a vowel or syllable in pronouncing, e.g. let’s.
  39. ellipsis the omission from a sentence of words needed to complete a
    1. construction or sense.
  40. elliptical
    1. involving ellipsis.
  41. feminine the gender proper to female beings.
  42. finite designating (part of) a verb limited by person and number, e.g.
    1. I am, He comes.
  43. formal designating the type of English used publicly for some serious
    1. purpose, either in writing or in public speeches.
  44. future the tense of a verb referring to an event yet to happen: simple
    1. future, e.g. I shall go; future in the past, referring to an
    2. event that was yet to happen at a time prior to the time of
    3. speaking, e.g. He said he would go.
  45. gerund the part of the verb which can be used like a noun, ending in
    1. -ing, e.g. What is the use of my scolding him?
  46. govern (said of a verb or preposition) to have (a noun or pronoun, or a
    1. case) dependent on it.
  47. group possessive
    1. see “double passive” in topic 4.16.
  48. hard designating a letter, chiefly c or g, that indicates a guttural
    1. sound, as in cot or got.
  49. if-clause a clause introduced by if.
  50. imperative
    1. the mood of a verb expressing command, e.g. Come here!
  51. inanimate opposite of animate.
  52. indirect object
    1. the person or thing affected by the action of the verb but not
    2. primarily acted upon, e.g. I gave him the book.
  53. infinitive
    1. the basic form of a verb that does not indicate a particular
    2. tense or number or person; the to-infinitive, used with
    3. preceding to, e.g. I want to know; the bare infinitive, without
    4. preceding to, e.g. Help me pack.
  54. inflexion a part of a word, usually a suffix, that expresses grammatical
    1. relationship, such as number, person, tense, etc.
  55. informal designating the type of English used in private conversation, personal letters, and popular public communication.
  56. intransitive
    1. designating a verb that does not take a direct object, e.g. I
    2. must think.
  57. intrusive r
    1. see item 2 in topic 2.21
  58. linking r see “r” in topic 2.21.
  59. loan-word a word adopted by one language from another.
  60. main clause
    1. the principal clause of a sentence.
  61. masculine the gender proper to male beings.
  62. mass noun a noun that refers to something regarded as grammatically
    1. indivisible, treated only as singular, and never qualified by
    2. those, many, two, three, etc.; opposite of countable noun.
  63. modal relating to the mood of a verb; used to express mood.
  64. mood form of a verb serving to indicate whether it is to express
    1. fact, command, permission, wish, etc.
  65. monosyllabic
    1. having one syllable.
  66. nominal designating a phrase or clause that is used like a noun, e.g.
    1. What you need is a drink.
  67. nonce-word
    1. a word coined for one occasion.
  68. non-finite
    1. designating (a part of) a verb not limited by person and number,
    2. e.g. the infinitive, gerund, or participle.
  69. non-restrictive
    1. see relative clauses.
  70. noun a word used to denote a person, place, or thing.
  71. noun phrase
    1. a phrase functioning within the sentence as a noun, e.g. The one
    2. over there is mine.
  72. object a noun or its equivalent governed by an active transitive verb,
    1. e.g. I will take that one.
  73. objective the case of a pronoun typically used when the pronoun is the
    1. object of a verb or governed by a preposition, e.g. me, him.
  74. paradigm the complete pattern of inflexion of a noun, verb, etc.
  75. participle
    1. the part of a verb used like an adjective but retaining some
    2. verbal qualities (tense and government of an object) and also
    3. used to form compound verb forms: the present participle ends
    4. in -ing, the past participle of regular verbs in -ed, e.g. While
    5. doing her work she had kept the baby amused.
  76. passive designating a form of the verb by which the verbal action is
    1. attributed to the person or thing to whom it is actually
    2. directed (i.e. the logical object is the grammatical subject),
    3. e.g. He was seen by us; opposite of active.
  77. past a tense expressing past action or state, e.g. I arrived
    1. yesterday.
  78. past perfect
    1. a tense expressing action already completed prior to the time of
    2. speaking, e.g. I had arrived by then.
  79. pejorative
    1. disparaging, depreciatory.
  80. penultimate last but one.
  81. perfect a tense denoting completed action or action viewed in relation
    1. to the present; e.g. I have finished now; perfect infinitive,
    2. e.g. He seems to have finished now.
  82. periphrasis
    1. a roundabout way of expressing something.
  83. person one of the three classes of personal pronouns or verb-forms,
    1. denoting the person speaking (first person), the person spoken
    2. to (second person), and the person or thing spoken about (third
    3. person).
  84. phrasal verb
    1. an expression consisting of a verb and an adverb (and
    2. preposition), e.g. break down, look forward to.
  85. phrase a group of words without a predicate, functioning like an
    1. adjective, adverb, or noun.
  86. plural denoting more than one.
  87. polysyllabic
    1. having more than one syllable.
  88. possessive
    1. the case of a noun or a pronoun indicating possession, e.g.
    2. John’s; possessive pronoun, e.g. my, his.
  89. predicate the part of a clause consisting of what is said of the subject,
    1. including verb + complement or object.
  90. predicative
    1. designating (especially) an adjective that forms part or the
    2. whole of the predicate, e.g. The dog is old.
  91. prefix a verbal element placed at the beginning of a word to qualify
    1. its meaning, e.g. ex-, non-.
  92. preposition
    1. a word governing a noun or pronoun, expressing the relation of
    2. the latter to other words, e.g. seated at the table.
  93. prepositional phrase
    1. a phrase consisting of a preposition and its complement, e.g. I
    2. am surprised at your reaction.
  94. present a tense expressing action now going on or habitually performed
    1. in past and future, e.g. He commutes daily.
  95. pronoun a word used instead of a noun to designate (without naming) a
    1. person or thing already known or indefinite, e.g. I, you, he,
    2. etc., anyone, something, etc.
  96. proper name
    1. a name used to designate an individual person, animal, town,
    2. ship, etc.
  97. qualify (of an adjective or adverb) to attribute some quality to (a noun
    1. or adjective/verb).
  98. reflexive implying the subject’s action on himself or itself; reflexive
    1. pronoun e.g. myself, yourself, etc.
  99. relative see “relative clauses” in topic 4.42.
  100. restrictive
    1. see relative clauses
  101. semivowel a sound intermediate between vowel and consonant, e.g. the
    1. sound of y and w.
  102. sentence adverb
    1. an adverb that qualifies or comments on the whole sentence, not
    2. one of the elements in it, e.g. Unfortunately, he missed his
    3. train.
  103. simple future
    1. see future
  104. singular denoting a single person or thing.
  105. soft designating a letter, chiefly c or g, that indicates a sibilant
    1. sound, as in city or germ.
  106. split infinitive
    1. see “split infinitive” in topic 4.46.
  107. stem the essential part of a word to which inflexions and other
    1. suffixes are added, e.g. unlimited.
  108. stress the especially heavy vocal emphasis falling on one (the
    1. stressed) syllable of a word more than on the others.
  109. subject the element in a clause (usually a noun or its equivalent) about
    1. which something is predicated (the latter is the predicate).
  110. subjective
    1. the case of a pronoun typically used when the pronoun is the
    2. subject of a clause.
  111. subjunctive
    1. the mood of a verb denoting what is imagined, wished, or
    2. possible, e.g. I insist that it be finished.
  112. subordinate clause
    1. a clause dependent on the main clause and functioning like a
    2. noun, adjective, or adverb within the sentence, e.g. He said
    3. that you had gone.
  113. substitute verb
    1. the verb do used in place of another verb, e.g. ‘He likes
    2. chocolate.’ ‘Does he?’
  114. suffix a verbal element added at the end of a word to form a
    1. derivative, e.g. -ation, -ing, -itis, -ize.
  115. superlative
    1. the form of an adjective or adverb expressing the highest or a
    2. very high degree of a quality, e.g. bravest, worst.
  116. synonym a word identical in sense and use with another.
  117. transitive
    1. designating a verb that takes a direct object, e.g. I said
    2. nothing.
  118. unreal condition
    1. (especially in a conditional sentence) a condition which will
    2. not be or has not been fulfilled.
  119. unstressed
    1. designating a word, syllable, or vowel not having stress.
  120. variant a form of a word etc. that differs in spelling or pronunciation
    1. from another (often the main or usual) form.
  121. verb a part of speech that predicates.
  122. vowel (1) an open speech sound made without audible friction and
    1. capable of forming a syllable with or without a consonant; (2) a
    2. letter usually used to represent (1), e.g. a, e, i, o, u.
  123. wh-question word
    1. a convenient term for the interrogative and relative words, most
    2. beginning with wh: what, when, where, whether, which, who, whom,
    3. whose, how.

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