English in Use/Glossary< English in Use
|General||Contents • Introduction|
|Parts of speech||Articles • Nouns • Verbs • Gerunds and participles • Pronouns • Adjectives • Adverbs • Prepositions, Conjunctions and Interjections|
|Other topics||Orthography • Punctuation • Syntax • Figures of Syntax • Glossary|
Absolute — Not immediately dependent on the other parts of the sentence in government.
Abstract — Considered apart from any application to a particular object.
Abstract noun — A noun that denotes an idea, emotion, feeling, quality or other abstract or intangible concept.
Active verb — A verb that expresses action as distinct from mere existence or state.
Adjective — A word that modifies a noun or describes a noun’s referent.
Adjunct — A clause in a sentence that amplifies its meaning.
Adverb — A word that modifies a verb, adjective, or various other types of words, phrases, and clauses.
Adverb of cause — Adverbs of cause are why, wherefore and therefore.
Adverb of degree — Adverbs of degree are those which answer to the question, how much? how little? or to the idea of more or less.
Adverb of manner — Adverbs of manner are those which answer to the question, how? or, by affirming, denying, or doubting, show how a subject is regarded.
Adverb of place — Adverbs of place indicate where something happens.
Adverb of time — Adverbs of time are those which answer to the question, when? how long? how soon? or how often?
Affirmative — An answer that shows agreement or acceptance.
Agreement — Rules that exist in many languages that force some parts of a sentence to be used or inflected differently depending on certain attributes of other parts.
Antecedent — A word, phrase or clause referred to by a pronoun.
Aorist — A temporal feature of the verb which denotes the speaker's standpoint of the event described by the verb, as from outside of the event and seeing it as a completed whole.
Aphaeresis — The loss of letters or sounds from the beginning of a word, such as the development of special from especial.
Apocope — The loss or omission of a sound or syllable from the end of a word.
Apposition — A construction in which one noun or noun phrase is placed with another as an explanatory equivalent, both having the same syntactic function in the sentence.
Appositive — Of or being in apposition.
Archaism — The adoption or imitation of archaic words or style.
Arrangement — Relative position of words in a sentence.
Article — A part of speech that indicates, specifies and limits a noun (a, an, or the in English).
Attribute — A word that qualifies a noun.
Auxiliary — A verb that accompanies the main verb in a clause in order to make distinctions in tense, mood, voice or aspect.
Capital — An uppercase letter.
Cardinal adjective — A cardinal number used as an adjective.
Case — A category of nouns, pronouns, or adjectives, specialized (usually by inflection) to indicate a particular syntactic relation to other words in a sentence.
Clause — A word or group of words ordinarily consisting of a subject and a predicate.
Collective noun — A noun which, though singular, refers to a group of things or animals.
Common adjective — A common adjective is any ordinary epithet, or adjective denoting quality or situation: as, good, bad, peaceful, warlike, eastern, western, outer, inner.
Common noun — A noun that can be preceded by an indefinite article, and denotes any member, or all members of a class; an ordinary noun such as dog or city.
Comparative degree — Adverbial or adjectival forms modified by more or ending in er, used when comparing two things.
Comparison — The ability of adjectives and adverbs to form three degrees.
Compound — A lexeme that consists of more than one stem; for example laptop, formed from lap and top.
Compound adjective — A compound adjective is one that consists of two or more words joined together, either by the hyphen or solidly: as, nut-brown, laughter-loving, four-footed; threefold, lordlike, lovesick.
Compound personal — A compound personal pronoun. compound personal pronouns are myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself.
Compound relative — Compound relatives are whoever, whosoever, whichever, whichsoever, whatever, whatsoever.
Compound sentence — A compound sentence is a sentence which is composed of at least two independent clauses.
Conjugation — In some languages, one of several classifications of verbs according to what inflections they take.
Conjunction — A word used to join other words or phrases together into sentences.
Conjunctive adverb — An adverb that connects two clauses.
Consonant — A sound that results from the passage of air through restrictions of the oral cavity; any sound that is not the dominant sound of a syllable, the dominant sound generally being a vowel.
Continuous tense — Expressing an ongoing action or state.
Declension — A way of categorizing nouns, pronouns, or adjectives according to the inflections they receive.
Defective verb — A verb with an incomplete conjugation; for example, one that can only be conjugated in certain persons and numbers.
Definite article — An article that introduces a noun and specifies it as the particular noun that is being considered; in English, the only definite article is the.
Diaeresis — A diacritic placed over a vowel letter indicating that it is sounded separately, usually forming a distinct syllable, as in naïve, Noël, Brontë.
Ellipsis — The omission of a grammatically required word or phrase that can be implied.
Enallage — The substitution of one grammatical form for another one.
Finite verb — A verb that is inflected for person and for tense according to the rules and categories of the languages in which it occurs.
First-future tense — The first-future tense is that which expresses what will take place hereafter.
Gender — A division of nouns and pronouns (and sometimes of other parts of speech), such as masculine, feminine, neuter or common.
Gerund — A verbal form that functions as a verbal noun. In English, a gerund has the same spelling as a present participle, but functions differently.
Government — That power which one word has over another, to cause it to assume some particular modification.
Grammar — A system of rules and principles for speaking and writing a language.
Hyperbaton — An inversion of the usual or logical order of words or phrases, for emphasis or poetic effect.
Imperative mood — The grammatical mood expressing an order.
Indefinite article — A word preceding a noun to indicate that the noun is new or unknown. In English it can be a (before a consonant sound) or an (before a vowel sound) in the singular; in the plural an article isn't used at all, or the pronoun some is used instead.
Independent clause — A clause that can stand by itself as a grammatically viable simple sentence.
Indicative mood — The mood of a verb used in ordinary factual or objective statements.
Infinitive — The uninflected form of a verb. In English, this is usually formed with the verb stem preceded by 'to'.
Infinitive mood — The infinitive of a verb is its basic form with or without the particle to.
Inflection — A change in the form of a word that reflects a change in grammatical function.
Interjection — An exclamation or filled pause; a word or phrase with no particular grammatical relation to a sentence, often an expression of emotion.
Interrogative — A word (pronoun, pronominal adjective, or adverb) implying interrogation, or used for asking a question: why, who, when, etc.
Introductory phrase — A phrase or clause that introduces a sentence.
Irregular comparison — Comparison of adjectives which cannot be compared regularly.
Irregular verb — A verb that does not follow the normal rules for its conjugation.
Italic characters — A typeface in which the letters slant to the right.
Letter — A symbol in an alphabet.
Liquid — An l or r sound.
Mimesis — The representation of aspects of the real world, especially human actions, in literature and art.
Mood — A verb form that depends on how its containing clause relates to the speaker’s or writer’s wish, intent, or assertion about reality.
Morphology — The forms of word formation.
Multiplicative adjective — An adjective which expresses the multiplicity.
Mute — A letter that, in a particular word, does not correspond to any sound in the word's pronunciation.
Neuter verb — A verb that expresses neither action nor passion, but simply being, or a state of being.
Nominative — Giving a name; naming; designating; said of that case or form of a noun which stands as the subject of a finite verb.
Non-finite verb — A verb form that is not limited by a subject and, more generally, is not fully inflected by categories that are marked inflectionally in language, such as tense, aspect, mood, number, gender, and person.
Note of exclamation — Punctuation used to denote excitement, surprise or shock; exclamation point.
Note of interrogation — The punctuation mark "?", used at the end of a sentence to indicate a question.
Noun — A word that can be used to refer to a person, place, thing, quality, or idea; one of the basic parts of speech in many languages, including English.
Number — Of a word or phrase, the state of being singular, dual or plural, shown by inflection.
Numeral — A numeral adjective.
Numeral adjective — An adjective that expresses a definite number: as, one, two, three, four, five, six.
Object — The noun phrase which is an internal complement of a verb phrase or a prepositional phrase. In a verb phrase with a transitive action verb, it is typically the receiver of the action.
Objective — Of, or relating to a noun or pronoun used as the object of a verb.
Ordinal adjective — An ordinal number used as an adjective.
Paragoge — The addition of a sound, syllable or letter to the end of a word, either through natural development or as a grammatical function.
Parenthetical phrase — A phrase in the sentence which is not essential to the meaning of the sentence.
Parsing — To resolve into its elements, as a sentence, pointing out the several parts of speech, and their relation to each other by government or agreement; to analyze and describe grammatically.
Participial adjective — A participle used as an adjective, such as drowning in the drowning man and drowned in the drowned man.
Participle — A form of a verb that may function as an adjective or noun.
Part of speech — The function a word or phrase performs in a sentence or phrase.
Passive voice — A grammatical voice in which the subject receives the action of a transitive verb.
Past participle — A past participle is usually identical to the verb's past tense form, though in irregular verbs the two usually differ.
Past perfect tense — Tense of verb conjugated by adding had before the past participle of a verb.
Perfect tense — A tense that expresses action completed at the present time; in English it is formed by using the present tense of have with a past participle.
Period — The punctuation mark (“.”) indicating the end of a sentence or marking an abbreviation.
Person — A linguistic category used to distinguish between the speaker of an utterance and those to whom or about whom he is referring; implemented in most languages by a variety of pronouns.
Personal — Denoting person; as, a personal pronoun.
Personification — A figure of speech, prosopopeia, in which an inanimate object or an abstraction is given human qualities.
Phrase — A word or group of words that functions as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence, usually consisting of a head, or central word, and elaborating words.
Pleonasm — A phrase in which one or more words are redundant as their meaning is expressed elsewhere in the phrase.
Plural — A word in the form in which it potentially refers to something other than one person or thing; and other than two things if the language has a dual form.
Possessive — A pronoun in the possessive case.
Potential mood — A verbal construction or form stating something is possible or probable.
Predicate — The part of the sentence (or clause) which states something about the subject.
Prefix — That which is prefixed; especially one or more letters or syllables added to the beginning of a word to modify its meaning; as, pre in prefix, con in conjure.
Preposition — A closed class of non-inflecting words typically employed to connect a noun or a pronoun, in an adjectival or adverbial sense, with some other word.
Propositional phrase — A phrase that has both a preposition and its object or complement; may be used as an adjunct or a modifier.
Present participle — The present participle is identical in form to the gerund.
Present tense — The form of language used to refer to an event, transaction, or occurrence which is happening now (or at the present time), or an object that currently exists.
Preterit — The preterite tense, simple past tense: the grammatical tense that determines the specific initiation or termination of an action in the past.
Progressive form — A form of a verb in which its gerund (or present participle) is used with any form of the verb to be. Examples: I am defining. It had been snowing.
Pronominal — Of, pertaining to, resembling, or functioning as a pronoun.
Pronominal compound — An adjective herein, therein, wherein.
Pronoun — A type of noun that refers anaphorically to another noun or noun phrase, but which cannot ordinarily be preceded by a determiner and rarely takes an attributive adjective.
Proper adjective — An adjective derived from a proper noun, such as British derived from Britain.
Proper noun — The name of a particular person, place, organization or other individual entity.
Prosthesis — The prepending of phonemes at the beginning of a word without changing its morphological structure, as in nother from other.
Quotation — A fragment of a human expression that is being referred to by somebody else.
Radical — Of or pertaining to the root of a word.
Redundant verb — A verb which has two forms for past tense.
Regimen — A syntactical relation between words, as when one depends on another and is regulated by it in respect to case or mood; government.
Regular comparison — Adjectives are regularly compared, when the comparative degree is expressed by adding er, and the superlative, by adding est to them.
Regular verb — A verb which conjugates regularly. In English, a verb which uses an ed suffix to form its past participle.
Relation — Reference of word to other words.
Relative — A relative pronoun. Relative pronouns are who, which, what, that, whoever, whosoever, whichever, whichsoever, whatever, whatsoever.
Remote — Not directly related.
Roman characters — A serifed style of typeface. Upright, as opposed to italic.
Second-future tense — The second-future tense is that which expresses what will have taken place at some future time mentioned.
Semivowel — A sound in speech which has some qualities of a consonant and some qualities of a vowel. A letter which represents a semivowel sound, such as w or y in English.
Sentence — A grammatically complete series of words consisting of a subject and predicate, even if one or the other is implied, and typically beginning with a capital letter and ending with a full stop.
Sign — An auxiliary, suffix, etc. that modifies a word.
Small letters — The minuscule or small letters (a, b, c, as opposed to the uppercase or capital letters, A, B, C).
Subject — The word or word group (usually a noun phrase) that is dealt with. In active clauses with verbs denoting an action, the subject and the actor are usually the same.
Subjunctive mood — A verb inflected to indicate that an act or state of being is possible, contingent or hypothetical, and not a fact.
Superlative degree — The form of an adjective that expresses which of more than two items has the highest degree of the quality expressed by the adjective; in English, formed by appending est to the end of the adjective (for some short adjectives only) or putting most before it.
Supposition — An assumption, conjecture, speculation or something supposed.
Syllepsis — A figure of speech in which one word simultaneously modifies two or more other words such that the modification must be understood differently with respect to each modified word; often causing humorous incongruity.
Synaeresis — The contraction of two vowels into a diphthong or a long vowel.
Syncope — A missing sound from the interior of a word, for example by changing cannot to can't or Hawai'i from the root name Hawaiki.
Syntax — A set of rules that govern how words are combined to form phrases and sentences.
Tense — Any of the forms of a verb which distinguish when an action or state of being occurs or exists.
Thing sui generis — In a class of its own; one of a kind.
Tmesis — The insertion of one or more words between the components of a compound word.
Understood words — Words that are omitted by ellipsis.
Unstressed numeral — A numeral in which one is replaced with indefinite article.
Verb — A word that indicates an action, an event, or a state.
Verbal — A verb form which does not function as a predicate, or a word derived from a verb.
Voice — A particular mode of inflecting or conjugating verbs, or a particular form of a verb, by means of which is indicated the relation of the subject of the verb to the action which the verb expresses.
Vowel — A sound produced by the vocal cords with relatively little restriction of the oral cavity, forming the prominent sound of a syllable. A letter representing the sound of vowel; in English, the vowels are a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y.