The Language of Grammar

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Grammar Glossary

Adjective A word or phrase which is added or linked to a noun to modify it. It may come before or after the noun: the red dress / the dress was red. There are different sorts of adjective.

number – six, three, hundreds
quantity – more, all, some
quality – relates to colour, size, smell
possessive – my, his, their
interrogative – which, whose, what
demonstrative – this, that, these, those

Adverb

A word or phrase which describes or modifies a verb. There are different sorts of adverb.

manner – happily, lazily, angrily, slowly
time – later, soon, now
place – here, near, far
degree – modifies another adverb: very, rather

Clause Distinct part of a sentence including a verb. There are different types.

main - the main clause makes sense on its own. E.g. I’ll phone you when I have some news.
subordinate – this gives more information about the main clause. E.g. I’ll phone you when I have some news.
Clauses can be abbreviated into phrases which do not have a verb. E.g. When happy, the children sang.

Conjunction A word used to link sentences or clauses. There are different types.

cause – because, therefore
opposition – however, but
addition – furthermore, also
time – later, next

Contraction Words which are shortened.  E.g. Do not – don’t, should have – should’ve.
Embedding

Placing a clause within a sentence rather than adding a conjunction.

Imperative A sentence which requests action.  The verb is at the beginning of the sentence. E.g. Get me a drink.
Metaphor Where the writer writes about something as if it were really something else.  E.g. She has the heart of a lion.  His belt was a snake curling round his waist.
Noun

A word that names a thing or a feeling.  They can be singular and plural. There are four main types of noun.

proper – a specifically named place or person – John, London

common – non-specific – man, dog, shop

collective – a group – flock, crowd, army

abstract – a concept or idea – love, justice, sympathy

Person A text may be written in the first person – I said, I am the second person – you said, you are the third person – she said, they are
Phrase

Two or more words which act as one unit.

noun – the dog, a black catverb – he ran slowly, she has been talking for ages

adverbial – expands the verb telling the reader how, when or where – I will be home as soon as possible, she lives along the lane.

adjectival – a phrase used as an adjective – the girl with the long hair lives near us.

Preposition A word describing the relationship between two nouns, two pronouns or a noun and a pronoun.The cat sat on the mat.They dived into the water.Underneath the bed a spider crawled.
Pronoun

A word used instead of a noun.  This helps improve writing by reducing repetition.  E.g. Peter is a good reader.  Peter reads each day.  becomes Peter is a good reader.  He reads each day. There are different types of pronoun.

demonstrative – that, these, this, those

indefinite – any, some, each, many

interrogative – who, whose, which, what

personal – I, me, we us

reflexive – myself, himself, itself

reciprocal – each other, one another

Simile Comparing the subject to something else.  E.g. She sings like a bird.  John is as strong as an ox.
Verb

A word or group of words which name an action or a state of being.  Verbs may be in different tenses.

past – I ate, I have eaten

present – I am eating, I eat

future – I will be eating

Verbs can be active or passive. Active – The dog bit Ben. Passive – Ben was bitten by the dog.

Voice

This refers to how the writer develops the relationship between the subject of the writing and the actions.

active voice – the writer uses active verbs to make it clear who carries out particular actions,  E.g. I decided that…

passive – the writer does not specify who carries out particular actions.  E.g. It was decided that…