Glossary of Grammar Terms

Want to learn more about grammatical terms? If so, check our glossary of grammatical terms.

Abstract nouns name ideas, characteristics, or characteristics, such as courage, pride, goodness, and success.

Action verbs are verbs that show action. Action verbs are the most common verbs.

Adjective prepositional phrase is a prepositional phrase used as an adjective telling which or what kind and altering a noun or pronoun. An adjective prepositional phrase comes right after the noun or pronoun that it changes. If two adjective prepositional phrases are combined, one will follow the other. Only adjective prepositional phrases alter the object of the preposition in another prepositional phrase.

Adjective clause – a dependent clause used to alter a noun or a pronoun. It will start with a relative pronoun (who, whose, whom, which, and that) or a subordinate conjunction (when and where). Those are the words that can be used to present an adjective clause. The introductory word always rename the word it follows and modifies, except when used with a preposition, which will come between the initial word and the word it renames.

Adjective infinitive – an infinitive that is an adjective. They alter nouns or pronouns. For instance: to be, to see, to be seen, to be eaten.

Adjectives alter or affect the meaning of nouns and pronouns and inform us which, whose, what kind, and how many of the nouns or pronouns they alter. They come prior to the noun or pronoun they change, but there are exceptions to that rule. Seven (7) words in the English language are adjectives and are the articles a, an, and the and the possessives my, our, your, and their.

Adverb clause – a dependent clause that alters a verb, adjective, or another adverb. It usually modifies the verb. Adverb clauses are presented by subordinate conjunctions, including after, although, as, as if, before, because, if, since, so that, then, though, unless, until, when, where, and while.

Adverb infinitives are infinitives that are used to alter verbs. They usually tell why. Adverb infinitives are also used to alter predicate adjectives.

Adverb prepositional phrase – a prepositional phrase utilized as an adverb informs us how, when, where, how much, and why and altering the verb and sometimes an adjective. Adverb prepositional phrases can come anywhere and can be moved within the sentence without changing the meaning.

Adverbial nouns are nouns used as adverbs. They tell amount, weight, time, distance, direction, or value. They can have adjectives altering them. Example: He waited two days. Lesson 164

Adverbs alter verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. They inform us how (manner), when (time), where (place), how much (degree), and why (cause). Why is a common one-word adverb that reveals why. Adverbs that inform us how, when, where, and why always alter the verb. Adverbs that tell us how much alter adjectives or other adverbs (these adverbs must come before the word they change). For Instance: She kicked the ball solidly. (how); She kicked the ball immediately. (when); She kicked the ball forward. (where); She kicked the ball too hard. (how much).

Antecedent – the word that the pronoun stands. A case in point would be: The boy threw the ball. He threw it over the fence. Boy is the antecedent for he, and ball is the antecedent for it. A pronoun can be an antecedent for another pronoun. For instance, He likes his new house. He is the antecedent for his. The antecedent comes before the pronoun for which it is the antecedent.

Appositive is a word or set of words that distinguish or renames the noun or pronoun it follows. Commas set off an appositive unless closely tied to the word it identifies or renames. (“Closely tied” means it is needed to identify the word.) For Instance: My son Carl is a medical technician. (no commas) Badger, our dog with a broken leg, has a love for birds. (commas needed)  Appositives should not be mistaken with predicate nominatives. A verb will split the subject from the predicate nominative. An appositive can go along with any noun or pronoun, as well as the subject, direct object, or predicate nominative.

Articles are simply the adjectives a, an, and the.

Case means that a distinct form of a pronoun is used for different sentence parts. There are 3 cases: nominative, objective, and possessive.

Clause is a set of words with a subject and a verb (predicate).

Coordinate conjunctions to join words, phrases, or clauses of equal rank. There are two kinds: simple and correlative. Simple coordinate conjunctions will be referred to as coordinate conjunctions in our lessons. The coordinate conjunctions are the following: but, or, nor, for, and yet.

Collective nouns give groups names, such as team, class, and choir.

Comparative form compares two things or persons. For instance: newer, more careless, better.

Complex sentence – a sentence comprised of an independent clause and a dependent clause. Example: The television was playing (an independent clause that can stand alone and make sense) as I left the room (dependent clause must be attached to the independent clause to make sense). There are three dependent clauses: adjective, adverb, and noun.

Compound nouns comprise more than one word, such as dining room, Laws of Order, Matthew Lynch, and homerun. Compound nouns can be concrete or abstract.

Compound sentence – a combination of 2 or more independent clauses. Commas divide the clauses of a compound sentence. (A short sentence is joined by and is occasionally combined without a comma.) Example: She talks, and he listens. A semicolon can stand in for the conjunction and comma. Only clauses related in thought should be added together to make a compound sentence.

Compound verb – when 2 or more verbs are in a sentence. A compound verb has either a coordinate or correlative conjunction. For instance: The bell rang and rang.

Concrete nouns name things that exist in reality, such as sidewalk, bird, toy, hair, and rain.

Conjunction – a word that joins together other words, phrases (groups of words), or clauses (groups of words with a subject and verb).

Correlative conjunctions are coordinate conjunctions and are always in pairs. They are either-or, neither-nor, both-and, not only-but, and whether-or.

Count nouns are nouns that can be calculated. Before counting nouns, you can use a, an, many, or a number. For instance, include one boy, six sheep, and many days.

Declarative sentence – a sentence that decalres a statement. For example: The assignment is due tomorrow.

Demonstrative pronouns are pronouns that point out. Demonstrative pronouns contain this, that, these, and those. For example, That is my car. I like these, not those.

Dependent clause – a clause that is used as some part of speech. It could be an adjective, adverb, or noun and cannot stand alone as a sentence.

Direct object – receives the action presented by the subject. The verb utilized with a direct object is forever an action verb. For instance: The car hit the tree. To locate the direct object, say the subject and verb followed by whom or what. The car hit whom or what? The tree answers the question, so the tree is the direct object. The direct object should be a noun or pronoun. A direct object will certainly not be in a prepositional phrase. The direct object does not equal the subject as the predicate nominative, nor does it have a linking verb as a predicate nominative sentence does.

Elliptical clauses – an adverb that uses then and as to introduce the clause. That implies they have some of their parts assumed but not stated. For instance: You are smarter than I. (I am smart.) They constantly alter the comparative word (smarter).

Exclamatory sentence – a sentence that demonstrates strong emotions. Declarative, imperative, or interrogative sentences can be transformed into exclamatory sentences by punctuating them with an exclamation point. For Instance: The assignment is due tomorrow! Stop! Do you know that man!

First-person pronouns are when a pronoun refers to the speaker or speaker. First-person pronouns include I, my, mine, me, myself, we, our, ours, us, and ourselves. They are also considered personal pronouns.

Gerund – a verbal that ends in ing and is used as a noun. Example: Eating is fun. The gerund could be an subject (Eating is fun.); a direct object (I like eating.); a predicate nominative (A fun time is eating.); an appositive (A fun time, eating, takes much time.); an indirect object (I give overeating time.); or an object of a preposition (I give much time to eating.)

Gerund phrase – a phrase that is comprised up of direct objects, predicate nominatives, predicate adjectives, or modifiers. For instance: Eating solid foods is hard for infants. Eating is the gerund utilized as the subject of the verb. It has a direct object, foods with the adjective solid, that together make up the gerund phrase eating solid foods serving as the sentence’s subject.

Helping verbs are verbs utilized to make verb phrases. Twenty-three (23) helping verbs should be memorized since they are used so often. They are usually grouped in the following five groups:

Group 1: is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been

Group 2: has, have, had

Group 3: do, does, did

Group 4: shall, will, should, would

Group 5: may, might, must, can, could

Imperative sentence – a sentence that provides a command or makes a request. For Instance: Hand it in now. Stop.

Indefinite pronouns point out normally, instead of pointing out explicitly. Indefinite pronouns contain words like another, any, anybody, anyone, anything, both, each, either, everybody, everyone, everything, many, neither, nobody, none, no one, one, other, others, some, somebody, and someone.

Independent clause – a clause that can stand alone as a sentence.

Indirect object – an object that is part of a prepositional phrase in which the preposition to or for is not stated but implied. It tells to who or for whom something is done. The indirect object comes from the verb and the direct object. For instance: She gave me a gift. The indirect object always modifies the verb. It may have modifiers and be compound. It is utilized with verbs such as give, tell, send, get, buy, show, build, do, make, save, and read. For example: She sent the man and me a gift.

Infinitive phrase – a word that is made up of an infinitive and any complements. An infinitive phrase that comes at the start of the sentence is followed by a comma and modifies the subject of the sentence. For instance: To eat solid foods is hard for infants. To eat is the noun infinitive utilized as the subject of the verb is, and it has its direct object foods with the adjective solid, which makes up the infinitive phrase to eat solid foods is the subject of the sentence.

Intensive pronouns comprise personal pronouns myself, yourself, yourselves, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, and themselves. For example: Carl, himself, won the race.

Interjection – a word or word set that shows feeling. A comma comes after a mild interjection; a strong interjection is subsequently followed by an exclamation point. Interjections fail to fit in grammatically with the rest of the sentence. Interjections are never the subject, and they come at the beginning of a sentence.

Interrogative pronouns ask questions. Who, whom, whose, which, and what.

Interrogative sentence – a sentence that poses a question. For example: Do you know that man?

Intransitives are all the verbs that don’t fit one of the other kinds of transitive or intransitive verbs. For Instance: The bell rang rapidly. The girl sang all evening (there is no receiver of the action).

Intransitive linking are sentences that contain a predicate nominative or predicate adjective. For Instance: The girl is Alexis (predicate nominative). The girl is cute (predicate adjective).

Intransitive verbs possess no receiver of the activity. They are categorized as intransitive complete or intransitive linking.

Introductory there – to be an intro there, it must meet these rules: 1) It should be the initial word of a sentence (Sometimes a prepositional phrase out of its regular order can come before it.); 2) It can not mean where; 3) It should be with a state of being a verb, and 4) The subject comes after the verb in such a sentence. The intro there doesn’t fit grammatically with the remainder of the sentence, as we will find most other words do.

Linking verbs (state of being verbs) show that a thing exists; they do not demonstrate action. Some standard linking verbs include: is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been, seem, look, feel, and become.

Mass nouns are not countable nouns and include words like gasoline, water, and dirt.

Nominative case pronouns are I, she, he, we, they, and who. Nominative case pronouns are utilized as subjects, predicate nominatives, and appositives when used with a subject or predicate nominative.

Noun – a word that labels a person, place, or thing.

Noun adjuncts – nouns used as adjectives or nouns used to describe another noun. They let us know whose or what type.

Noun clause – a dependent clause that can be utilized similarly to a noun or pronoun. It could be a subject, predicate nominative, direct object, appositive, indirect object, or object of the preposition. Some words that introduce noun clauses are: that, whether, who, why, whom, what, how, when, whoever, where, and whomever. Keep in mind that most of these words also introduce adjective and adverb clauses. For instance: I know who said that. (I know it.) Whoever said it is wrong. (He is wrong.) Occasionally a noun clause is used without the initial word. For instance: I know that he is here. (I know he is here.)

Noun infinitive – an infinitive that is a noun. Noun infinitives could be a subject (To eat is pleasurable.); a direct object (I love to eat.); a predicate nominative (A pleasurable thing is to eat.); an appositive (My hope, to travel, did not happen.); an object of a preposition (I want nothing but to save.)

Nouns of address (nominatives of address) are the individuals or things you speak about. They are set separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma or commas, may have modifiers, and are not grammatically related to the rest of the sentence. If they are deleted, a whole sentence remains. Nouns off address may be first, last, or in the middle of the sentence. For Instance: John, where are you going? Where are you going, John? Where, John, are you going?

Object of the preposition – a noun or noun counterpart in a prepositional phrase.

Objective case pronouns are me, her, him, us, them, and whom. Objective case pronouns are utilized as direct objects, indirect objects, objects of the preposition, and appositives when utilized with one of the objects.

Objective complement – a noun or adjective which comes after the direct object, renaming or altering it. It is utilized with verbs like make, name, call, choose, elect, and appoint. It does not contain commas as an appositive is. For instance: I call my dog Rex. A verb that contains an objective complement in the active voice may, in the passive voice, contains a predicate nominative or a predicate adjective. For Instance: My dog is called Badger by me. I consider my dog smart. My dog is considered smart by me.

Participial adjectives are verb forms utilized as adjectives. For instance: the lost mine, the howling wolf.

Participial phrase – a phrase comprised of a participle and any complements (direct objects, predicate nominatives, predicate adjectives, or modifiers). A participial phrase at the start of the sentence is always followed by a comma and modifies the subject of the sentence.

Participle – a verbal which is an adjective and ends in different ways. A present participle ends with ing, as does the gerund, but keep in mind that it is an adjective. The past participle ends with ed, n, or irregularly. For instance: played, broken, brought, sung, seeing, having seen, being seen, seen, having been seen. Participles alter nouns and pronouns and can precede or follow the word modified.

Personal pronouns are used to describe people: the speaker or speakers, those spoken to, and those spoken about. Personal pronouns can be singular or plural (two or just as verbs and nouns.

Phrase – a set of words utilized as part of sentence. A phrase does not have a subject or a verb. It could be a noun, adjective, or adverb. Some general phrases are prepositional, gerund, participial, and infinitive.

Positive comparison states the quality of one thing or person. For instance: new, careless, good.

Possessive case pronouns include are my, mine, your, yours, his, her, hers, its, our, ours, your, yours, their, and theirs.

Possessive pronouns are personal pronouns that reveal to whom something belongs to. Possessive pronouns include the words: my, mine, your, yours, his, her, hers, its, our, ours, their, and theirs. For instance: The money is mine. Mine tells whose money it is. Possessive pronouns don’t contain apostrophes, but possessive nouns do.

Possessives are comprised of adjectives my, our, your, and their.

Predicate adjective – an adjective that comes after a linking verb and modifies the subject.

Predicate nominative – a word that ends a linking verb and changes the name of the subject. It is considered a complement or completer because it finishes the verb. Predicate nominatives finish only linking verbs. The word equals can replace the verb in a sentence having a predicate nominative. Example: Mr. Smith is a teacher.

Preposition – a word that starts a prepositional phrase and demonstrates the relationship between its object and another word in the sentence. Words are prepositions if they contain an object to complete them. To determine if the word in question is a preposition, say the preposition comes after by whom or what. If a noun or a pronoun responds to the question, the word is a preposition. The word is not a preposition if there is no noun or pronoun to complete the sentence.

Prepositional phrase – a phrase that begins with a preposition, ends with an object and may contain modifiers between the preposition and the object of the preposition.

Pronominal adjectives are pronouns utilized as adjectives.

Pronoun – a word that substitutes a noun or a group of words used as nouns.

Proper nouns label a particular person, place, or thing and begin with capital letters. Nouns are categorized into two general classifications: proper and common. All nouns that begin with small letters are considered standard.

Qualifiers are adverbs that add to or take away from the words they alter.

Relative pronouns add together dependent clauses to independent clauses. Relative pronouns include:  who, whose, whom, which, and that. For example: She found his money that she had lost. That adds together the two clauses together into one sentence.

Reflexive pronouns – Personal pronouns myself, yourself, yourselves, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, and themselves are always compound personal pronouns, mixing the personal pronoun with self or selves. For instance, Carl hurt himself.

State of being verbs (linking verbs) indicate that a thing exists; they do not show action. Normal linking verbs include: is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been, seem, look, feel, and become.

Second person pronouns are when the pronoun indicates to people who are spoken to. The second person pronouns include you, your, yours, yourself, yourselves. They are also deemed personal pronouns.

Sentence – a set of words expressing a whole thought, which must contain a subject and a verb (predicate – some grammar books utilize the word predicate, but we will use verb). A verb reveals an action or state of being. For Instance: The bell rang. The boy is here. The subject describes who or what about the verb. For Instance: The bell rang. The boy is here. We have four types of sentences: declarative, imperative, interrogative, and exclamatory.

Subject – a word that describes who or what about the verb. When locating the subject and the verb in a sentence, always find the verb first and then say who or what came after the verb. Example: The bell rang. Find the verb – rang. Now say who or what rang? The bell rang. Bell is the subject.

Subordinate conjunctions are dependent clauses to independent clauses. Subordinate conjunctions include after, although, as, as if, because, before, if, since, so that, than, unless, until, when, where, and while.

Superlative form compares other than two things or persons.

Third-person pronouns are when the pronoun refers to those spoken about. Third-person pronouns include he, his, him, himself, she, her, hers, herself, it, its, itself, they, their, theirs, them, themselves.

Transitive active verbs are the verbs in sentences having a direct object. For instance: The boy kicked the dog. The subject provides the action, and the direct object receives the action.

Transitive passive verbs contain the subject having the action with the doer in a prepositional phrase or omitted in the sentence. For Instance: The ball was kicked by the boy. The ball was kicked hard. The verb in the transitive passive voice has is, am, are, was, were, be, being, or been as an auxiliary or helping verb.

Transitive verbs are verbs that contain subjects or objects that receive an action. They are active voice or passive voice.

Verb phrase is when a verb contains more than one word. Utilizing auxiliary or helping verbs makes verb phrases.

Verbal – a verb form used as another part of speech. There are three types of verbals: gerunds, participles, and infinitives.

Verbs show action or state of being. Many verbs are action words, but a few verbs indicate the state of being or existence

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