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  Home > TEFL Clinic > Teaching Knowledge > Glossary

Grammar


Active voice: In an active sentence, the subject of the verb usually does or causes the action, e.g. The car hit the tree. See passive voice.

Adjective: An adjective describes or gives more information about a noun, pronoun or clause, e.g. a cold day.

  1. A comparative adjective compares two things, e.g. He is taller than she is.
  2. A demonstrative adjective shows how physically close the speaker or writer is to the object, e.g. this (near), that (far).
  3. An -ing/ed adjective changes in different situations, e.g. The book is very interesting; I am very interested in the book.
  4. A possessive adjective shows who something belongs to, e.g. my, our.
  5. A superlative adjective compares more than two things, e.g. He is the tallest boy in the class.

Adverb: An adverb describes or gives more information about how, when, where or to what degree something is done, e.g. he worked quickly and well.

Auxiliary verb: see verb.

Article: An article can be definite (the), indefinite (a) or zero (-), e.g. I was at (-) home in the sitting room when I heard a noise.

Aspect: A way of looking at verb forms not purely in relation to time. The perfect, continuous and simple are aspects. The continuous aspect, for example, suggests that something is happening temporarily.

Base form of the verb: see verb.

Clause: A clause consists of a verb and (generally) a subject. A clause can be a full sentence or a part of a sentence.

  1. main clause: When the teacher arrived, the students stopped talking.
  2. subordinate clause: When the teacher arrived, the students stopped talking.
  3. relative clause: The students who were sitting near the front stood up.

Collective noun: see noun.

Comparative adjective: see adjective.

Compound noun: see noun.

Conditional: A possible or imagined situation usually with ‘if’, e.g. If it rains, I will get wet. (but its not raining now)

Conditional forms: A verb form that refers to a possible or imagined situation. Grammar books often mention three kinds of conditionals:

first conditional, e.g. I will come if I can.

second conditional, e.g. I would go if they asked me.

third conditional, e.g. I would have seen her if I had arrived earlier.

Conjunction: A conjunction (or connector) is used to connect words, phrases, clauses or sentences, e.g. I like tea but I dont like coffee because its too strong for me.

Connector: see conjunction.

Countable noun: see noun.

Demonstrative adjective: see adjective.

Demonstrative pronoun: see pronoun.

Dependent preposition: see preposition.

Determiner: A determiner is used to make clear which noun is referred to, or to give information about quantity, and includes words such as the, a, this, that, my, some, e.g. That car is mine.

Direct question: The actual words that someone says when asking a question, e.g. What do you mean, Sue? asked Peter. See indirect question.

Direct speech: The actual words someone says, e.g. He said, My name is Ron.

First conditional: see conditional forms.

Gerund, -ing form: A noun which is made from the present participle form of a verb, e.g. I hate shopping.

Grammatical structure: The arrangement of words into meaningful sentences. A grammatical structure is also a grammatical language item, e.g. present perfect simple.

Imperative: The form of a verb that gives an order or instruction, e.g. Turn to page 10.

Indirect question: The words someone uses when they are telling someone what somebody else asked, e.g. Peter asked Sue what she meant. An indirect question can also be used when someone wants to ask something in a more polite way, e.g. I was wondering if you could help me (indirect question) instead of Could you help me? (direct question). See direct question.

Indirect speech: see reported statement.

Infinitive of purpose: This is used to express why something is done, e.g. I went to the lesson to learn English.

-ing/-ed adjective: see adjective.

Intensifier: A word used to make the meaning of another word stronger, e.g. Hes much taller than his brother; Im very tired.

Interrogative: A question form.

Irregular verb: see verb.

Main clause: see clause.

Modal verb: see verb.

Noun: A person, place or thing, e.g. elephant, girl, grass, school.

  1. A collective noun is a noun which includes a group of people or things, e.g. the police, the government.
  2. A compound noun is a combination of two or more words which are used as a single word, e.g. a flower shop, a headache.
  3. A countable noun has a singular and plural form, e.g. book�� books.
  4. An uncountable noun does not have a plural form, e.g. information.
  5. A proper noun is the name of a person or place, e.g. Robert, London.
  6. A singular noun is one person, place or thing.
  7. A plural noun is more than one person, place or thing and can be regular or irregular, e.g. boys, women.

Object: This is a noun or phrase that describes the thing or person that is affected by the action of a verb, e.g. I saw Mary in the classroom. See subject.

Object pronoun: see pronoun.

Participle (past and present): The form of the verb that is used to make tenses or adjectives, e.g. an interesting film (present participle); I havent seen him today. (past participle)

Passive voice: In a passive sentence, something is done to or happens to the subject of the verb, e.g. The tree was hit by the car. See active voice.

Past perfect simple and continuous, progressive: see tense.

Past simple and past continuous, progressive: see tense.

Personal pronoun: see pronoun.

Phrase: A group of words which make sense, but do not form a sentence.

Plural noun: see noun.

Possessive adjective: see adjective.

Possessive pronoun: see pronoun.

Possessive s and whose: Ways of showing or asking who something belongs to, e.g. Whose book is it? Its Sues.

Preposition: A word used before a noun, noun phrase or pronoun to connect it to another word, e.g. He was in the garden.

A dependent preposition is a word that is always used with a particular noun, verb or adjective, e.g. interested in, depend on, bored with.

Present continuous, progressive for future: see tense.

Present perfect simple and continuous, progressive: see tense.

Present simple and continuous, progressive: see tense.

Pronoun: A word that replaces or refers to a noun or noun phrase just mentioned.

Demonstrative pronoun, e.g. this, that.

Object pronoun, e.g. him.

Personal pronoun, e.g. I (subject pronoun), me (object pronoun)

Possessive pronoun, e.g. mine

Reflexive pronoun, e.g. myself

Relative pronoun, e.g. which

Proper noun: see noun.

Punctuation: The symbols or marks used to organise writing into clauses, phrases and sentences to make the meaning clear, e.g. full stop, capital letter, apostrophe and comma.

Quantifier: A word or phrase such as much, few or a lot of which is used with a noun to show an amount, e.g. I dont have much time; I have a lot of books.

Question tag: A phrase such as isnt it? or doesnt he? that is added to the end of a sentence to make it a question, or to check that someone agrees with the statement, e.g. Its very cold, isnt it?

Reflexive pronoun: see pronoun.

Regular verb: see verb.

Relative clause: see clause.

Relative pronoun: see pronoun.

Reported statement: When someones words are reported by another person, e.g. She said she was sorry. See indirect question.

Reporting verb: A verb such as tell, advise, suggest used in indirect speech to report what someone has said, e.g. Jane advised John to study harder.

Second conditional: see conditional forms.

Singular noun: see noun.

Subject: This is the noun or phrase that goes before the verb in a sentence to show who is doing the action, e.g. John plays tennis every Saturday. See object.

Subject-verb agreement: When the form of the verb matches the person doing the action of the verb, e.g. I walk, he walks. If a student writes I walks, then it is wrong because there is no subject-verb agreement.

Subordinate clause: see clause.

Superlative adjective: see adjective.

Tense: A form of the verb that shows whether something happens in the past, present or future, e.g.

  1. Past perfect simple and continuous, progressive
    • After I had phoned Mary, I went out. (past perfect simple)
    • I had been studying for three hours, so I felt quite tired. (past perfect continuous, progressive)
  2. Past simple and past continuous, progressive
    • I was talking (past continuous, progressive) to my friend when the taxi came. (past simple)
  3. Present continuous, progressive for future
    • What are you doing at the weekend?
  4. Present perfect simple and continuous, progressive
    • I have known him for a long time (present perfect simple).
    • I have been studying for three years (present perfect continuous, progressive).
  5. Present simple and continuous, progressive
    • I work at a school (present simple) and I am working in London now (present continuous, progressive).
    , , , , , , , , , ,
  6. , , , , ,

Third conditional: see conditional forms.

Third person: A verb or a pronoun which shows that somebody or something is being spoken about, e.g. He, she, it, they.

Time expression: A word or phrase that indicates a time period, such as after, by, e.g. I will meet you after the lesson.

Uncountable noun: see noun.

Used to: A structure that shows something happened in the past but does not happen now, e.g. I used to live in London, but now I live in Paris.

Verb: The word which follows the subject of a sentence, and is sometimes described as the action word, e.g. I like cheese; He speaks Italian.

  1. An auxiliary verb is a verb used with other verbs to make questions, negatives and tenses, e.g. be, do, have.
  2. The base form of the verb is the infinitive form of a verb without to, e.g. go.
  3. The infinitive form is the base form of a verb with to. It is used after another verb, after an adjective or noun or as the subject or object of a sentence, e.g. 'I want to study, Its difficult to understand.
  4. An irregular verb does not follow the same rule as regular verbs. Each irregular verb has its own way of forming the past simple and past participle, e.g. go �� went (past simple) �� gone (past participle).
  5. A modal verb is a verb used with other verbs to show ideas such as ability or obligation or possibility. They include can, must, will, should, e.g. I can speak French, but I should study even harder.
  6. A regular verb changes its forms by adding -ed in the past simple and past participle, e.g. walk �� walked (past simple).

Verb pattern: The form of the words following the verb, e.g. he advised me to get there early. (advise + object pronoun + to + base form)







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