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GLOSSARY OF GRAMMAR
abstract noun a noun used to refer to a quality, idea,
feeling, or experience, rather than a physical object;
size, reason, joy.
active voice verb groups such as "gives", "took", "has
made", which are used when the subject of the verb is the person or thing
doing the action or responsible for it. Compare with passive
adjective a word used to tell you more about a person or
thing, such as their appearance, colour, size, or other qualities;
--> ... a pretty blue dress.
adjunct another name for adverbial.
adverb a word that gives more information about when,
how, where, or in what circumstances something happens;
adverbial an adverb, or an adverb phrase, prepositional
phrase, or noun group which does the same job as an adverb, giving more
information about when, how, where, or in what circumstances something
--> then, very quickly, in the street, the next
adverbial of degree an adverbial which indicates the
amount or extent of a feeling or quality;
--> She felt
adverbial of duration an adverbial which indicates how
long something continues or lasts;
--> He lived in London
for six years.
adverbial of frequency an adverbial which indicates how
often something happens;
sometimes goes to the cinema.
adverbial of manner an adverbial which indicates the way
in which something happens or is done;
--> She watched
adverbial of place an adverbial which gives more
information about position or direction;
--> They are
upstairs ... Move closer.
adverbial of probability an adverbial which gives more
information about how sure you are about something;
I've probably lost it.
adverbial of time an adverbial which gives more
information about when something happens:
--> I saw her
adverb phrase two adverbs used together;
--> She spoke very quietly ... He did not
play well enough to win.
affirmative a clause or sentence in the affirmative has
the subject followed by the verb.
apostrophe s an ending ('s) added to a noun to indicate
--> ... Harriet's daughter...
the professor's husband... the Managing
article see definite article, indefinite
auxiliary another name for auxiliary
auxiliary verb one of the verbs "be", "have", and "do"
when they are used with a main verb to form tenses, n
-->atives, and questions.
Some grammars include modals in the group of auxiliary verbs.
base form the form of a verb without any endings added to
it, which is used in the "to"-infinitive and for the imperative;
--> walk, go, have, be. The base form is the form you
look up in a dictionary.
cardinal number a number used in counting:
clause a group of words containing a verb. See also
main clause and subordinate clause.
collective noun a noun that refers to a group of people
or things, which can be used with a singular or plural verb;
--> committee, team, family.
comparative an adjective or adverb with "-er" on the end
or "more" in front of it;
--> slower, more important, more
complement a noun group or adjective, which comes after a
link verb such as "be", and gives more information about the subject of the
--> He is the editor of TestYourEnglish.NET --> She is
complex sentence a sentence consisting of a main clause
and a subordinate clause:
--> She wasn't thinking very
quickly because she was tired.
compound sentence a sentence consisting of two or more
main clauses linked by "and", "or" or "but";
picked her up and took her into the house.
contrast clause a subordinate clause, usually introduced
by "although" or "in spite of the fact that", which contrasts with a main
--> Although I like her, I find
her hard to talk to.
conditional clause a subordinate clause, usually starting
with "if" or "unless", which is used to talk about possible situations and
--> They would be rich if they had
taken my advice ... We 'II go to the park, unless it
conjunction a word such as "and", "because", or "nor",
that links two clauses, groups, or words.
continuous tense a tense which contains a form of the
verb "be" and a present participle;
--> She was
laughing ... They had been playing badminton.
coordinating conjunction a conjunction such as "and",
"but", or "or", which links two main clauses.
count noun a noun which has both singular and plural
--> dog/ dogs, lemon/ lemons, foot/ feet.
countable noun another name for count noun.
declarative another name for affirmative.
defining relative clause a relative clause which
identifies the person or thing that is being talked about.
... the lady who lives next door ... I wrote down
everything that she said.
definite article the determiner "the".
delexical verb a common verb such as "give", "have", "make", or "take",
which has very little meaning in itself and is used with a noun as object that
describes the action;
--> She gave a
small cry ... I've just had a bath.
demonstrative one of the words "this", "that", "these",
--> ... this woman... ...
that tree ... That looks interesting ...
This is fun.
descriptive adjective an adjective which describes a
person or thing, for example indicating their size, age, shape, or colour,
rather than expressing your opinion of that person or thing. Compare with
determiner one of a group of words including "the", "a",
"some", and "my", which are used at the b
-->inning of a noun group.
direct object a noun group referring to the person or
thing affected by an action, in a clause with a verb in the active voice;
--> She wrote her name ... I shut
direct speech the actual words spoken by someone.
ditransitive verb another name for a verb with two objects, such as
"give", "take", or "sell";
--> She gave
me a kiss.
double-transitive verb another name for a verb with two objects.
"-ed" adjective an adjective which has the same form as
the "-ed" form of a r
-->ular verb, or the past participle of an irr
--> ... boiled potatoes ... ... a
"-ed" form the form of a r
-->ular verb used for the past simple and for the
past participle, ellipsis the leaving out of words when they are obvious from
emphasizing adverb an adverb such as "absolutely" or
"utterly", which modifies adjectives that express extreme qualities, such as
"astonishing" and "wonderful";
--> You were
ergative verb a verb which is both transitive and
intransitive in the same meaning. The object of the transitive use is the
subject of the intransitive use;
boiled a kettle ... The kettle boiled.
first person see person.
gerund another name for the "-ing" form when it is used as a noun.
"if"-clause see conditional clause.
imperative the form of a verb used when giving orders and
commands, which is the same as its base form;
Come here ... Take two tablets every
four hours ... Enjoy yourself.
impersonal "it" "it" used as an impersonal subject to
introduce new information.
raining... It's ten o'clock.
indefinite article the determiners "a" and "an".
indefinite adverb a small group of adverbs including
"anywhere" and "somewhere" which are used to indicate place in a general way.
indefinite pronoun a small group of pronouns including
"someone" and "anything" which are used to refer to people or things without
saying exactly who or what they are.
indirect object an object used with verbs that take two
objects. For example, in "I gave him the pen" and "I gave the pen to him",
"him" is the indirect object and "pen" is the direct object. Compare
indirect question a question used to ask for information
--> Do you know where Jane is?
... I wonder which hotel it was.
indirect speech the words you use to report what someone has said, rather
than using their actual words. Also called reported speech.
infinitive the base form of a verb;
I wanted to go ... She helped me dig the
"-ing" adjective an adjective which has the same form as
the present participle of a verb:
--> ... a
smiling face ... ... a winning streak.
"-ing" form a verb form ending in "-ing" which is used to
form verb tenses, and as an adjective or a noun. Also called the present
interrogative pronoun one of the pronouns "who", "whose",
"whom", "what", and "which", when they are used to ask questions.
interrogative sentence a sentence in the form of a
intransitive verb a verb which does not take an object;
--> She arrived ... I was
-->ular a word or form which does not follow the normal
-->ular verb a verb that has three forms or five forms,
or whose forms do not follow the normal rules.
link verb a verb which takes a complement rather than an
--> be, become, seem, appear.
main clause a clause which does not depend on another
clause, and is not part of another clause.
main verb all verbs which are not auxiliaries or modals.
manner clause a subordinate clause which describes the
way in which something is done, usually introduced with "as" or "like";
--> She talks like her mother used
modal a verb such as "can", "might" or "will", which is
always the first word in a verb group and is followed by the base form of a
verb. Modals are used to express requests, offers, suggestions, wishes,
intentions, politeness, possibility, probability, certainty, obligation, and
mood the mood of a clause is the way in which the verb forms are used to
show whether the clause is a statement, command, or question.
-->ative a n
-->ative clause, question, sentence, or
statement is one which has a n
-->ative word such as "not", and indicates the
absence or opposite of something, or is used to say that something is not the
--> I don't know you ... I'll never forget.
Compare with positive.
-->ative word a word such as "never", "no", "not",
"nothing", or "nowhere", which makes a clause, question, sentence, or
non-defining relative clause a relative clause which
gives more information about someone or something, but which is not needed to
identify them because we already know who or what they are,
--> That's Mary, who was at university with me.
Compare with defining relative clause.
non-finite clause a "to"-infinitive clause, "-ed" clause, or "-ing"
noun a word which refers to people, things, ideas,
feelings, or qualities
--> woman, Harry, guilt.
noun group a group of words which acts as the subject,
complement, or object of a verb, or as the object of a preposition.
object a noun group which refers to a person or thing
that is affected by the action described by a verb. Compare with
subject. Prepositions also have noun groups as objects.
object pronoun one of a set of pronouns including "me",
"him" and "them", which are used as the object of a verb or preposition.
Object pronouns are also used as complements after "be";
--> I hit
him ... It's me.
opinion adjective an adjective which you use to express
your opinion of a person or thing, rather than just describing them. Compare
with descriptive adjective.
ordinal number a number used to indicate where something comes in an order
--> first, fifth, tenth, hundredth.
participle a verb form used for making different tenses.
Verbs have two participles, a present participle and a past participle.
particle an adverb or preposition which combines with
verbs to form phrasal verbs.
passive voice verb groups such as "was given", "were
taken", "had been made", which are used when the subject of the verb is the
person or thing that is affected by the action. Compare with active
past form the form of a verb, often ending in "-ed",
which is used for the past simple tense.
past participle a verb form which is used to form perfect
tenses and passives. Some past participles are also used as adjectives.
--> watched, broken, swum.
past tense see tense.
perfect tense see tense.
person one of the three classes of people who can be
involved in something that is said. The person who is speaking or writing is
called the first person. The people who are listening or reading are called
the second person. The people or things that are being talked about are called
the third person.
personal pronoun one of the group of words including "I",
"you" and "me", which are used to refer back to yourself, the people you are
talking to, or the people or things you are talking about. See also
object pronoun and subject pronoun.
phrasal verb a combination of a verb and a particle,
which together have a different meaning to the verb on its own;
--> back down, hand over. look forward to.
plural the form of a count noun or verb, which is used to
refer to or talk about more than one person or thing;
Dogs have ears ... The women were
plural noun a noun which is normally used only in the
--> trousers, scissors.
positive a positive clause, question, sentence, or
statement is one which does not contain a n
-->ative word such as "not".
possessive one of the determiners "my", "your", "his",
"her", "its", "our" or "their", which is used to show that one person or thing
belongs to another:
--> your car.
possessive adjective another name for possessive.
possessive pronoun one of the pronouns "mine", "yours",
"hers", "his", "ours" or "theirs".
preposition a word such as "by", "with" or "from", which
is always followed by a noun group.
prepositional phrase a structure consisting of a
preposition followed by a noun group as its object;
the table, by the sea.
present participle see "-ing" form.
present tense see tense.
pronoun a word which you use instead of a noun, when you
do not need or want to name someone or something directly;
it, you. none.
progressive tense another name for continuous tense.
proper noun a noun which is the name of a particular
person, place, organization, or building. Proper nouns are always written with
a capital letter;
--> Nigel, Edinburgh, the United
purpose clause a subordinate clause which is used to talk
about the intention that someone has when they do something;
--> I came here in order to ask you out to
qualifier a word or group of words, such as an adjective,
prepositional phrase, or relative clause, which comes after a noun and gives
more information about it;
--> ... the person
involved ... ... a book with a blue cover
... ... the shop that I went into.
question a sentence which normally has the verb in front
of the subject, and which is used to ask someone about something;
--> Have you any money?
question tag an auxiliary or modal with a pronoun, which
is used to turn a statement into a question.
--> He's very
friendly, isn't he? ... I can come, can't
reason clause a subordinate clause, usually introduced by
"because", "since" or "as", which is used to explain why something happens or
--> Since you're here, we'll
reciprocal verb a verb which describes an action which
involves two people doing the same thing to each other;
I met you at the dance ... We've met one
another before ... They met in the street.
reflexive pronoun a pronoun ending in "-self" or
"-selves", such as "myself" or "themselves", which you use as the object of a
verb when you want to say that the object is the same person or thing as the
subject of the verb in the same clause.
--> He hurt
reflexive verb a verb which is normally used with a
reflexive pronoun as object;
--> He contented
himself with the thought that he had the only set of keys.
-->ular verb a verb that has four forms, and follows the
relative clause a subordinate clause which gives more
information about someone or something mentioned in the main clause. See also
defining relative clause and non-defining relative
relative pronoun "that" or a "wh"-word such as "who" or
"which", when it is used to introduce a relative clause;
... the girl who was carrying the bag.
reported clause the clause in a report structure which
indicates what someone has said;
--> She said that
I couldn't see her.
reported question a question which is reported using a
report structure rather than the exact words used by the speaker. See also
reported speech the words you use to report what someone has said, rather
than using their actual words. Also called indirect speech.
reporting clause the clause in a report structure which
contains the reporting verb.
reporting verb a verb which describes what people say or
--> suggest, say, wonder.
report structure a structure which is used to report what
someone says or thinks, rather than repeating their exact words:
--> She told me she'd be late.
result clause a subordinate clause introduced by "so",
"so ... that" or "such ... (that)", which indicates the result of an action or
--> I don't think there's any more news,
so I'll finish.
second person see person.
semi-modal a term used by some grammars to refer to the verbs "dare",
"need" and "used to", which behave like modals in some structures.
sentence a group of words which express a statement,
question, or command. A sentence usually has a verb and a subject, and may be
a simple sentence with one clause, or a compound or complex sentence with two
or more clauses. In writing, a sentence has a capital letter at the b
and a full-stop, question mark, or exclamation mark at the end.
short form a form in which one or more letters are
omitted and two words are joined together, for example an auxiliary or modal
and "not" or a subject pronoun and an auxiliary or modal;
aren't, couldn't, he'd, I'm, it's, she's.
simple tense a present or past tense formed without using
an auxiliary verb;
--> I wait ... she
singular the form of a count noun or verb which is used
to refer to or talk about one person or thing;
dog was in the back of the
car ... That woman is my
singular noun a noun which is normally used only in the
--> the sun, a bath.
strong verb another name for irr
subject the noun group in a clause that refers to the
person or thing who does the action expressed by the verb;
We were going shopping.
subject pronoun one of the set of pronouns including "I",
"she" and "they", which are used as the subject of a verb.
subordinate clause a clause which must be used with a
main clause and is not usually used alone, for example a time clause,
conditional clause, relative clause or result clause, and which b
-->ins with a
subordinating conjunction such as "because" or "while".
subordinating conjunction a conjunction such as
"although", "as if", "because" or "while", which you use to b
superlative an adjective or adverb with "-est" on the end
or "most" in front of it;
--> thinnest, quickest, most
tag question a statement to which a question tag has been added;
--> She's quiet, isn't she?
tense the form of a verb which shows whether you are
referring to the past, present or future.
- future "will"
or "shall" with the base form of the verb, used to refer to future events;
--> She will come tomorrow.
- future continuous "will" or "shall" with "be" and a
present participle, used to refer to future events;
She will be going soon.
perfect "will" or "shall" with "have" and a past participle, used to
refer to future events;
--> I shall have
finished by tomorrow.
- future perfect
continuous "will" or "shall" with "have been" and a present
participle, used to refer to future events;
will have been walking for three hours by then.
- past simple the past form of a verb, used to refer to
--> They waited.
- past continuous "was" or "were" with a present
participle, usually used to refer to past events.
were worrying about it yesterday.
perfect "had" with a past participle, used to refer to past events;
--> She had finished.
past perfect continuous "had been" with a present participle, used to
refer to past events;
--> He had been
waiting for hours.
- present simple the
base form and the third person singular form of a verb, usually used to refer
to present events;
--> I like bananas ...
My sister hates them.
continuous the present simple of "be" with a present participle,
usually used to refer to present events;
- present perfect
"have" or "has" with a past participle, used to refer to past events which
exist in the present;
--> She has loved
him for ten years.
- present perfect continuous
"have been" or "has been" with a present participle, used to refer to past
events which continue in the present;
--> We have
been sitting here for hours.
"that"-clause a clause starting with "that", used mainly
when reporting what someone has said;
--> She said
that she'd wash up for me.
third person see person.
time clause a subordinate clause which indicates the time
of an event;
--> I'll phone you when I get
time expression a noun group used as an adverbial of
--> last night, the day after tomorrow, the next
"to"-infinitive the base form of a verb preceded by "to";
--> to go, to have, to jump.
transitive verb a verb which takes an object;
--> She's wasting her money.
uncount noun a noun which has only one form, takes a
singular verb, and is not used with "a" or numbers. Uncount nouns often refer
to substances, qualities, feelings, activities, and abstract ideas.
--> coal, courage, anger, help, fun.
verb a word which is used with a subject to say what
someone or something does, or what happens to them;
sing, spill, die.
verb group a main verb, or a main verb with one or more
auxiliaries, a modal, or a modal and an auxiliary, which is used with a
subject to say what someone does, or what happens to them;
I'll show them ... She's been sick.
"wh"-question a question which expects the answer to give
more information than just "yes" or "no".
happened? ... Where did he go? Compare with
"wh"-word one of a group of words starting with "wh-",
such as "what", "when" or "who", which are used in "wh"-questions. "How" is
also called a "wh"-word because it behaves like the other "wh"-words.
"yes/no"-question a question which can be answered by
just "yes" or "no", without giving any more information;
Would you like some more tea? Compare with
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