Словарь грамматических терминов

A

  • abstract noun a noun used to refer to a quality, idea, feeling, or experience, rather than a physical object; EG 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 voice.
  • adjective a word used to tell you more about a person or thing, such as their appearance, colour, size, or other qualities; EG ... 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; EG quickly, now.
  • 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 happens; EG then, very quickly, in the street, the next day.
  • adverbial of degree an adverbial which indicates the amount or extent of a feeling or quality; EG She felt extremely tired.
  • adverbial of duration an adverbial which indicates how long something continues or lasts; EG He lived in London for six years.
  • adverbial of frequency an adverbial which indicates how often something happens; EG She sometimes goes to the cinema.
  • adverbial of manner an adverbial which indicates the way in which something happens or is done; EG She watched carefully.
  • adverbial of place an adverbial which gives more information about position or direction; EG They are upstairs ... Move closer.
  • adverbial of probability an adverbial which gives more information about how sure you are about something; EG I've probably lost it.
  • adverbial of time an adverbial which gives more information about when something happens: EG I saw her yesterday.
  • adverb phrase two adverbs used together; EG 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 possession; EG ... Harriet's daughter... the professor's husband... the Managing Director's secretary.
  • article see definite article, indefinite article.
  • auxiliary another name for auxiliary verb.
  • auxiliary verb one of the verbs "be", "have", and "do" when they are used with a main verb to form tenses, negatives, and questions. Some grammars include modals in the group of auxiliary verbs.

B

  • base form the form of a verb without any endings added to it, which is used in the "to"-infinitive and for the imperative; EG walk, go, have, be. The base form is the form you look up in a dictionary.

C

  • cardinal number a number used in counting: EG one, seven, nineteen.
  • 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; EG committee, team, family.
  • comparative an adjective or adverb with "-er" on the end or "more" in front of it; EG slower, more important, more carefully.
  • complement a noun group or adjective, which comes after a link verb such as "be", and gives more information about the subject of the clause: EG She is a teacher ... She is tired.
  • complex sentence a sentence consisting of a main clause and a subordinate clause: EG 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"; EG They 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 clause; EG 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 their results: EG They would be rich if they had taken my advice ... We 'II go to the park, unless it rains.
  • 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; EG 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 forms; EG dog/ dogs, lemon/ lemons, foot/ feet.
  • countable noun another name for count noun.

D

  • declarative another name for affirmative.
  • defining relative clause a relative clause which identifies the person or thing that is being talked about. EG ... 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; EG She gave a small cry ... I've just had a bath.
  • demonstrative one of the words "this", "that", "these", and "those"; EG ... 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 opinion adjective.
  • determiner one of a group of words including "the", "a", "some", and "my", which are used at the beginning 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; EG She wrote her name ... I shut the windows.
  • direct speech the actual words spoken by someone.
  • ditransitive verb another name for a verb with two objects, such as "give", "take", or "sell"; EG She gave me a kiss.
  • double-transitive verb another name for a verb with two objects.

E

  • "-ed" adjective an adjective which has the same form as the "-ed" form of a regular verb, or the past participle of an irregular verb. EG ... boiled potatoes ... ... a broken wing.
  • "-ed" form the form of a regular verb used for the past simple and for the past participle, ellipsis the leaving out of words when they are obvious from the context.
  • emphasizing adverb an adverb such as "absolutely" or "utterly", which modifies adjectives that express extreme qualities, such as "astonishing" and "wonderful"; EG You were absolutely wonderful.
  • 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; EG He boiled a kettle ... The kettle boiled.

F

  • first person see person.

G

  • gerund another name for the "-ing" form when it is used as a noun.

I

  • "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; EG Come here ... Take two tablets every four hours ... Enjoy yourself.
  • impersonal "it" "it" used as an impersonal subject to introduce new information. EG It's 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 direct object.
  • indirect question a question used to ask for information or help; EG 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; EG I wanted to go ... She helped me dig the garden.
  • "-ing" adjective an adjective which has the same form as the present participle of a verb: EG ... 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 participle.
  • 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 question.
  • intransitive verb a verb which does not take an object; EG She arrived ... I was yawning.
  • irregular a word or form which does not follow the normal rules.
  • irregular verb a verb that has three forms or five forms, or whose forms do not follow the normal rules.

L

  • link verb a verb which takes a complement rather than an object; EG be, become, seem, appear.

M

  • 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"; EG She talks like her mother used to.
  • 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 so on.
  • 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.

N

  • negative a negative clause, question, sentence, or statement is one which has a negative word such as "not", and indicates the absence or opposite of something, or is used to say that something is not the case; EG I don't know you ... I'll never forget. Compare with positive.
  • negative word a word such as "never", "no", "not", "nothing", or "nowhere", which makes a clause, question, sentence, or statement negative.
  • 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, EG 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" clause.
  • noun a word which refers to people, things, ideas, feelings, or qualities EG 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.

O

  • 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"; EG 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 or sequence; EG first, fifth, tenth, hundredth.

P

  • 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 voice.
  • 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. EG 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; EG 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; EG Dogs have ears ... The women were outside.
  • plural noun a noun which is normally used only in the plural form; EG trousers, scissors.
  • positive a positive clause, question, sentence, or statement is one which does not contain a negative 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: EG 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; EG on 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; EG 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; EG Nigel, Edinburgh, the United Nations, Christmas.
  • purpose clause a subordinate clause which is used to talk about the intention that someone has when they do something; EG I came here in order to ask you out to dinner.

Q

  • 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; EG ... 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; EG Have you any money?
  • question tag an auxiliary or modal with a pronoun, which is used to turn a statement into a question. EG He's very friendly, isn't he? ... I can come, can't I?

R

  • reason clause a subordinate clause, usually introduced by "because", "since" or "as", which is used to explain why something happens or is done; EG Since you're here, we'll start.
  • reciprocal verb a verb which describes an action which involves two people doing the same thing to each other; EG 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. EG He hurt himself.
  • reflexive verb a verb which is normally used with a reflexive pronoun as object; EG He contented himself with the thought that he had the only set of keys.
  • regular verb a verb that has four forms, and follows the normal rules.
  • 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 clause.
  • relative pronoun "that" or a "wh"-word such as "who" or "which", when it is used to introduce a relative clause; EG ... the girl who was carrying the bag.
  • reported clause the clause in a report structure which indicates what someone has said; EG 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 indirect question.
  • 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 think; EG suggest, say, wonder.
  • report structure a structure which is used to report what someone says or thinks, rather than repeating their exact words: EG 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 situation: EG I don't think there's any more news, so I'll finish.

S

  • 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 beginning 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; EG 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; EG I wait ... she sang.
  • singular the form of a count noun or verb which is used to refer to or talk about one person or thing; EG A dog was in the back of the car ... That woman is my mother.
  • singular noun a noun which is normally used only in the singular form; EG the sun, a bath.
  • strong verb another name for irregular verb.
  • subject the noun group in a clause that refers to the person or thing who does the action expressed by the verb; EG 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 begins 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 begin a subordinate clause.
  • superlative an adjective or adverb with "-est" on the end or "most" in front of it; EG thinnest, quickest, most beautiful.

T

  • tag question a statement to which a question tag has been added; EG 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; EG She will come tomorrow.
  • future continuous "will" or "shall" with "be" and a present participle, used to refer to future events; EG She will be going soon.
  • future perfect "will" or "shall" with "have" and a past participle, used to refer to future events; EG 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; EG I will have been walking for three hours by then.
  • past simple the past form of a verb, used to refer to past events; EG They waited.
  • past continuous "was" or "were" with a present participle, usually used to refer to past events. EG They were worrying about it yesterday.
  • past perfect "had" with a past participle, used to refer to past events; EG She had finished.
  • past perfect continuous "had been" with a present participle, used to refer to past events; EG 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; EG I like bananas ... My sister hates them.
  • present continuous the present simple of "be" with a present participle, usually used to refer to present events; EG Things are improving.
  • present perfect "have" or "has" with a past participle, used to refer to past events which exist in the present; EG 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; EG We have been sitting here for hours.
  • "that"-clause a clause starting with "that", used mainly when reporting what someone has said; EG 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; EG I'll phone you when I get back.
  • time expression a noun group used as an adverbial of time; EG last night, the day after tomorrow, the next time.
  • "to"-infinitive the base form of a verb preceded by "to"; EG to go, to have, to jump.
  • transitive verb a verb which takes an object; EG She's wasting her money.

U

  • 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. EG coal, courage, anger, help, fun.

V

  • verb a word which is used with a subject to say what someone or something does, or what happens to them; EG 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; EG I'll show them ... She's been sick.

W

  • "wh"-question a question which expects the answer to give more information than just "yes" or "no". EG What happened? ... Where did he go? Compare with "yes/no"-question.
  • "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.

Y

  • "yes/no"-question a question which can be answered by just "yes" or "no", without giving any more information; EG Would you like some more tea? Compare with "wh"-question.

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