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Grammar Glossary

Unlock English grammar: detailed definitions, straightforward explanations, and illustrative examples. A comprehensive glossary for learners and educators alike.

Glossary Terms


An adjective is a word that describes or modifies a noun or pronoun by giving additional information about its attributes, quantity, or state. Adjectives can specify the quality, size, number, color, shape, or origin of a noun.

  • Examples:
    • Quality: The beautiful painting captivated everyone.
    • Size: She lives in a big house.
    • Number: He has several books.
    • Color: The red apple looks delicious.
    • Shape: They sat at the round table.
    • Origin: She loves Italian cuisine.


An adverb modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb, indicating manner, place, time, frequency, degree, or level of certainty. It answers questions such as how, where, when, how much, and how often.

  • Examples:
    • Manner: She sings beautifully.
    • Place: He lives nearby.
    • Time: They arrived early.
    • Frequency: She often visits.
    • Degree: The soup is too hot.
    • Certainty: I will certainly attend.


Articles are words that define a noun as specific or unspecific. English has three articles: “a,” “an” (indefinite articles), and “the” (definite article).

  • Examples:
    • Definite: The dog barked.
    • Indefinite: She wants an apple (before a vowel sound); He is a teacher.


A clause is a group of words containing a subject and a predicate. It can be independent, expressing a complete thought and standing alone as a sentence, or dependent, unable to stand alone and acting as part of a sentence.

  • Examples:
    • Independent: “She dances.” (Can stand alone as a sentence)
    • Dependent: “Because she dances” (Cannot stand alone as a sentence)

Collective Noun

A collective noun refers to a group of individuals or items as a single entity.

  • Examples:
    • Flock of birds
    • Class of students
    • Team of players


A conjunction is a word that connects words, phrases, clauses, or sentences. There are coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so), subordinating conjunctions (because, although, if), and correlative conjunctions (either…or, neither…nor).

  • Examples:
    • Coordinating: “She can sing and dance.”
    • Subordinating: “I will go out if it stops raining.”
    • Correlative: “Either you leave or I do.”

Compound Sentence

A compound sentence is made up of two or more independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction or a semicolon.

  • Examples:
    • “She wanted to go for a walk, but it was raining.”
    • “I tried to speak Spanish, and my friend tried to speak English.”

Complex Sentence

A complex sentence consists of one independent clause and at least one dependent clause.

  • Examples:
    • “Although he was tired, he finished his homework.
    • If you study hard, you will pass the exam.”


A complement is a word, phrase, or clause that is necessary to complete the meaning of a given expression. Complements can be subject complements (following linking verbs) or object complements.

  • Examples:
    • Subject complement: “The sky is blue.” (Describes the subject)
    • Object complement: “They elected him president.” (Describes the object)

Conditional Sentence

Conditional sentences express if-then scenarios, including real and unreal situations. They typically consist of a condition clause (if-clause) and a result clause (main clause).

  • Examples:
    • Real condition (First conditional): “If it rains, I will stay home.”
    • Unreal condition (Second conditional): “If I were you, I would apologize.”


A contraction is a shortened form of words that usually omit certain letters or sounds, with an apostrophe taking the place of the omitted letters.

  • Examples:
    • “Do not” → “Don’t”
    • “I am” → “I’m”
    • “They have” → “They’ve”

Demonstrative Pronoun

Demonstrative pronouns point to specific things or people. They include this, that, these, and those.

  • Examples:
    • Near in distance or time: This (singular), these (plural)
    • Far in distance or time: That (singular), those (plural)


Determiners are words that introduce nouns and help to express the reference of that noun in the context. They can indicate definiteness (the), indefiniteness (a, an), quantity (some, many), possession (my, your), and demonstration (this, that). Determiners are always followed by a noun.

  • Examples:
    • Definite Article: “The dog barked loudly.” (The specifies a particular dog.)
    • Indefinite Article: “I saw a movie last night.” (A introduces any movie, not a specific one.)
    • Possessive: “My book is on the table.” (My indicates ownership.)
    • Quantifier: “Many people attended the concert.” (Many specifies a quantity.)
    • Demonstrative: “This house is big.” (This points out a specific house.)

Direct Object

A direct object is a noun or pronoun that receives the action of a transitive verb. It answers the question “What?” or “Whom?” after the verb.

  • Examples:
    • “She reads a book.” (Book is the direct object of reads, answering “What does she read?”)
    • “They invited us to the party.” (Us is the direct object of invited, answering “Whom did they invite?”)


A gerund is a verb form that ends in -ing and functions as a noun. It can be used as the subject, object, or complement of a sentence.

  • Examples:
    • As subject: “Swimming is my favorite hobby.” (Swimming acts as the subject of the sentence.)
    • As direct object: “I enjoy swimming.” (Swimming is the object of enjoy.)
    • As subject complement: “My hobby is swimming.” (Swimming complements the subject my hobby.)


Grammar is the set of structural rules that governs the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given language. It encompasses parts of speech, sentence structure, punctuation, and syntax.

  • Examples:
    • Correct usage of verbs: “She writes every day.”
    • Proper sentence structure: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

Helping (Auxiliary) Verb

Helping verbs, also known as auxiliary verbs, are used together with a main verb to show the verb’s tense, mood, or voice. They include forms of “be,” “do,” and “have,” as well as modal verbs like can, should, and must.

  • Examples:
    • “She is running fast.” (Is is a helping verb showing continuous tense.)
    • “They have completed their homework.” (Have is a helping verb indicating perfect tense.)
    • “You must see this movie.” (Must is a modal helping verb expressing necessity.)


Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings and often different spellings. They are a common source of errors in writing.

  • Examples:
    • “Their” (possessive), “there” (adverb of place), and “they’re” (contraction for “they are”).
    • “Write” (to form letters) and “right” (correct or direction opposite of left).


Hyperbole is a figure of speech that involves an exaggeration of ideas for the sake of emphasis. It is not meant to be taken literally but is used to create a strong impression and add dramatic effect.

  • Examples:
    • “I’ve told you a million times.”
    • “This bag weighs a ton.”

Indirect Object

An indirect object is a noun or pronoun that indicates to whom or for whom the action of the verb is done. It usually comes before the direct object.

  • Examples:
    • “She gave me a gift.” (Me is the indirect object; gift is the direct object.)
    • “I told him a story.” (Him is the indirect object; story is the direct object.)


An infinitive is the base form of a verb, often preceded by “to.” Infinitives can function as nouns, adjectives, or adverbs.

  • Examples:
    • As noun: “To read is to learn.” (To read acts as the subject.)
    • As adjective: “I have a book to read.” (To read describes the book.)
    • As adverb: “She left to study.” (To study indicates why she left.)


An interjection is a word or phrase that expresses emotion or exclamation, without grammatically connecting to other sentences. It can stand alone or be inserted into a sentence.

  • Examples:
    • “Wow! That’s amazing.” (Wow expresses surprise.)
    • “Ugh, I can’t believe it.” (Ugh shows disgust.)
    • “Yes, I will attend the meeting.” (Yes is an interjection showing agreement.)


An idiom is a phrase or an expression that has a figurative, sometimes literal, meaning. The figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning of the idiom’s individual elements.

  • Examples:
    • “Break a leg” means good luck.
    • “Piece of cake” means something is very easy to do.
    • “Hit the hay” means to go to bed.

Imperative Sentence

An imperative sentence is used to issue a command, make a request, or offer advice. Typically, the subject (you) is implied and therefore omitted. Imperative sentences can end with either a period (.) or an exclamation mark (!) depending on the forcefulness of the command.

  • Examples:
    • “Please close the door.”
    • “Sit down.”
    • “Do your homework!”

Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns refer to nonspecific persons or things. They do not point to any particular noun but refer to any person or thing in a general way.

  • Examples:
    • “Someone is at the door.” (Refers to an unspecified person.)
    • “Everything is ready.” (Refers to all things in a general sense.)
    • “Nobody was there.” (Refers to the absence of any person.)

Independent Clause

An independent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought. It can stand alone as a sentence.

  • Examples:
    • “She runs every morning.” (Complete thought and can stand alone.)
    • “The sun sets in the west.” (Complete thought and can stand alone.)

Indirect Speech

Indirect speech, also known as reported speech, involves reporting what someone else says without using their exact words. Often, it requires changing the tense, pronouns, and time expressions.

  • Examples:
    • Direct: He said, “I am tired.”
    • Indirect: He said that he was tired.
    • Direct: She said, “I will go to the store tomorrow.”
    • Indirect: She said that she would go to the store the next day.

Infinitive Phrase

An infinitive phrase is a group of words that begins with an infinitive (to + base form of the verb) and includes objects or modifiers. It can function as a noun, adjective, or adverb in a sentence.

  • Examples:
    • “To win the championship” is his dream. (Functioning as a noun.)
    • “She has a plan to increase sales.” (Functioning as an adjective.)
    • “He left the party to get some rest.” (Functioning as an adverb.)

Interrogative Sentence

An interrogative sentence is a type of sentence that asks a question. It ends with a question mark (?).

  • Examples:
    • “What is your name?”
    • “Are you going to the party?”
    • “How old are you?”


Jargon consists of specialized terms and phrases used by a particular group, often within a specific profession or area of interest. These terms can be unclear to those outside the group due to their technical nature.

  • Examples:
    • In computer science, “algorithm” refers to a set of rules or instructions designed to perform a specific task.
    • In medicine, “anemia” refers to a condition in which there is a deficiency of red cells or of hemoglobin in the blood.
    • In legal contexts, “litigation” refers to the process of taking legal action or resolving disputes in court.

Linking Verb

A linking verb connects the subject of a sentence to a subject complement, which can be a noun or adjective. This verb does not show action but instead links the subject to additional information about the subject.

  • Examples:
    • “She is a teacher.” (Is links the subject “she” to her profession “teacher.”)
    • “The cake smells delicious.” (Smells links the subject “cake” to the adjective “delicious.”)
    • “They seem happy.” (Seem links the subject “they” to the adjective “happy.”)

Modal Verb

Modal verbs are auxiliary verbs that express necessity, possibility, permission, or ability. They cannot stand alone as the main verb in a sentence and are used in conjunction with a base form of a verb.

  • Examples:
    • “She can speak three languages.” (Ability)
    • “You must finish your homework.” (Necessity)
    • “He might come to the party.” (Possibility)
    • “May I leave the table?” (Permission)


A noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, idea, or concept. Nouns can function in a sentence as a subject, object, or complement and can be categorized in several ways including proper vs. common, countable vs. uncountable, and collective.

  • Examples:
    • Proper Noun: “London is beautiful in the spring.” (London specifies a particular place.)
    • Common Noun: “The city is beautiful in the spring.” (City is a general noun for any city.)
    • Countable Noun: “I have three books.” (Books can be counted.)
    • Uncountable Noun: “She gave me some advice.” (Advice cannot be counted.)
    • Collective Noun: “The team is playing tonight.” (Team refers to a group acting as a single entity.)


In grammar, an object is a noun, pronoun, or phrase that receives the action of a verb in a sentence. Objects can be direct (receiving the action directly) or indirect (receiving the action indirectly).

  • Examples:
    • Direct Object: “She wrote a letter.” (Letter receives the action of wrote.)
    • Indirect Object: “She gave me a letter.” (Me is the indirect object receiving the letter.)

Object Complement

An object complement is a noun, pronoun, or adjective that follows a direct object to rename it or state what it has become.

  • Examples:
    • “They elected him president.” (President renames him.)
    • “She painted the house red.” (Red describes the house.)

Passive Voice

In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is acted upon by the verb. The focus is on the action and the recipient of the action, not on who is performing the action.

  • Examples:
    • “The book was read by the teacher.” (Focus is on the book, not the teacher.)
    • “A new song was released by the band.” (Focus is on the song, not the band.)

Past Participle

The past participle is a verb form used in creating perfect tenses and the passive voice. It is often formed by adding -ed to the base form of regular verbs, but many verbs are irregular and have unique past participle forms.

  • Examples:
    • Regular verb: Talk → talked
    • Irregular verb: Write → written
    • “She has written a letter.”
    • “The song was sung by the choir.”


A phrase is a group of words that acts as a single part of speech and does not contain both a subject and a verb. Phrases can function as nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and more.

  • Examples:
    • Noun phrase: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”
    • Adjective phrase: “The house on the hill looks abandoned.”
    • Adverbial phrase: “He drives with great care.”


Plural form refers to more than one of a noun. English typically forms the plural of a noun by adding -s or -es, but there are many irregular plurals.

  • Examples:
    • Regular plural: Car → cars
    • Irregular plural: Child → children
    • “She has three cats.” (Regular plural)
    • “There are two men in the room.” (Irregular plural)


The predicate of a sentence tells what the subject does or is. It includes the verb and can also include objects, complements, and adverbial phrases.

  • Examples:
    • “The cat slept on the mat.” (Slept on the mat is the predicate, telling what the cat did.)
    • “She is a teacher.” (Is a teacher is the predicate, telling what she is.)


A preposition is a word that shows the relationship between a noun or pronoun and other elements in the sentence, often indicating location, direction, time, or manner.

  • Examples:
    • “The book is on the table.” (Location)
    • “We walked to the park.” (Direction)
    • “She will arrive at noon.” (Time)
    • “He speaks with enthusiasm.” (Manner)


A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun, to avoid repetition and make sentences smoother. Pronouns can be subject pronouns, object pronouns, possessive pronouns, reflexive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, interrogative pronouns, and relative pronouns.

  • Examples:
    • Subject pronoun: “He is my friend.”
    • Object pronoun: “I saw her yesterday.”
    • Possessive pronoun: “This book is mine.”
    • Reflexive pronoun: “She prepared herself.”
    • Demonstrative pronoun: “This is delicious.”
    • Interrogative pronoun: “Who are you?”
    • Relative pronoun: “The person who called me was unknown.”

Modal Verb

Modal verbs are auxiliary verbs that express necessity, possibility, ability, permission, or obligation. They do not change form according to the subject and are used with the base form of the main verb. Modal verbs include can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, and would.

  • Examples:
    • Can (ability): “I can swim.”
    • Could (possibility): “It could rain later.”
    • May (permission): “You may leave early.”
    • Must (obligation): “You must wear a seatbelt.”
    • Should (advice): “You should study for the test.”


A noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, idea, or action. Nouns can function as the subject of a sentence, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition. Nouns can be classified into several categories, including common and proper nouns, countable and uncountable nouns, and collective nouns.

  • Examples:
    • Common noun: “The city is beautiful.”
    • Proper noun: “London is beautiful.”
    • Countable noun: “I have two cats.”
    • Uncountable noun: “She gave me some advice.”
    • Collective noun: “The team won the game.”

Noun Phrase

A noun phrase consists of a noun and any modifiers (adjectives, determiners, or pronouns) directly related to it. Noun phrases can act as subjects, objects, or complements within a sentence.

  • Examples:
    • “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” (The entire phrase acts as the subject.)
    • “I enjoy reading mystery novels.” (The phrase acts as the object of the verb enjoy.)
    • “The winner of the race was a young athlete from Kenya.” (The phrase acts as the subject complement.)


Negation is the grammatical construction that contradicts part or all of a sentence’s meaning. English typically uses “not” or contractions ending in “n’t” (don’t, isn’t, won’t) to indicate negation.

  • Examples:
    • “I do not like spinach.”
    • “She isn’t going to the party.”
    • “They don’t know the answer.”

Nonrestrictive Clause

A nonrestrictive (or non-defining) clause provides additional information about a noun or pronoun in a sentence but is not essential to understanding who or what is being referred to. Nonrestrictive clauses are usually set off by commas.

  • Examples:
    • “My brother, who lives in New York, is visiting us.” (The clause who lives in New York provides extra information about the brother but is not essential to identifying him.)
    • “The book, which was published last year, has become a bestseller.” (The clause which was published last year adds information about the book but is not necessary to know which book is being discussed.)

Noun Clause

A noun clause is a dependent clause that functions as a noun within a larger sentence. It can serve as the subject, object, or complement in a sentence and usually begins with words like that, what, who, whom, and why.

  • Examples:
    • What she said is true.” (Subject of the verb is.)
    • “I believe that he is innocent.” (Object of the verb believe.)
    • “The problem is that we are out of time.” (Subject complement after the linking verb is.)


In grammar, number refers to the distinction between singular (one) and plural (more than one) forms of nouns, pronouns, and verbs. The number affects verb conjugation and sometimes the form of other parts of speech.

  • Examples:
    • Singular: “The cat is sleeping.”
    • Plural: “The cats are sleeping.”
    • “She writes every day.” (Singular subject and verb)
    • “They write every day.” (Plural subject and verb)


An object in a sentence is a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that receives the action of a verb or shows the result of the action. It can be classified as a direct object (receives the action directly) or an indirect object (receives the action indirectly, usually denoting to whom or for whom the action is done).

  • Examples:
    • Direct Object: “She wrote a letter.” (Letter receives the action of wrote.)
    • Indirect Object: “She gave him a letter.” (Him receives the letter, indirectly affected by the action.)

Object of the Preposition

The object of the preposition is a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that follows a preposition and completes its meaning, showing the relationship between its object and another word in the sentence.

  • Examples:
    • “The book is on the table.” (The table is the object of the preposition on.)
    • “She walked with her friend.” (Her friend is the object of the preposition with.)


Onomatopoeia refers to words that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to. It is a figurative language feature that enhances descriptive writing and sound mimicry.

  • Examples:
    • “The bees buzz around the flowers.”
    • “The door went bang when it closed suddenly.”

Part of Speech

Part of speech is a category to which a word is assigned in accordance with its syntactic functions. The main parts of speech in English are noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection.

  • Examples:
    • Noun: dog, happiness
    • Verb: run, think
    • Adjective: blue, quick
    • Adverb: quickly, very

Passive Voice

The passive voice is a sentence construction where the subject is acted upon by the verb, often involving a form of the verb “to be” and the past participle of the main verb. It shifts the focus from who is performing the action to the action itself or the recipient of the action.

  • Examples:
    • “The cake was eaten by the dog.” (Focus is on the cake, not the dog.)
    • “A new song has been released by the artist.” (Emphasizes the song release.)

Past Tense

Past tense verbs indicate actions or states that occurred at a time before the present. The simple past tense is formed by adding -ed to regular verbs, though many verbs are irregular and do not follow this pattern.

  • Examples:
    • Regular: talk → talked
    • Irregular: go → went
    • “She walked to the park yesterday.”
    • “He saw a movie last night.”

Perfect Tense

The perfect tense in English is used to denote actions that have been completed at the time of speaking or at a specified time in the past, present, or future. It is formed using the auxiliary verb “have” plus the past participle of the main verb.

  • Examples:
    • Present Perfect: “She has finished her homework.”
    • Past Perfect: “They had left before we arrived.”
    • Future Perfect: “We will have completed the project by tomorrow.”


A phrase is a group of words that act as a single unit in a sentence but do not contain both a subject and a predicate. Phrases can function as nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and more within a sentence.

  • Examples:
    • Noun phrase: “The quick brown fox
    • Adjective phrase: “Extremely tired, the student fell asleep.”
    • Adverbial phrase: “He drove with great care.”


Plural form refers to the form of a word that indicates more than one person, place, thing, idea, or concept. Most nouns form their plural by adding -s or -es, though there are many irregular plurals.

  • Examples:
    • Regular plural: car → cars
    • Irregular plural: child → children
    • “She has three apples.” (Regular plural)
    • “There are two men in the room.” (Irregular plural)


The predicate is the part of a sentence or clause that tells something about the subject. It includes the verb and anything related to the action of the verb, such as the direct object, indirect object, or predicate adjective.

  • Examples:
    • “The cat slept on the mat.” (Predicate includes the verb slept and the prepositional phrase on the mat.)
    • “They are happy.” (Predicate includes the linking verb are and the adjective happy.)


A preposition is a word used to express the relationship of a noun or pronoun to another word in the sentence, often indicating location, direction, time, or manner.

  • Examples:
    • Location: “The book is on the table.”
    • Direction: “She walked to the store.”
    • Time: “We will leave at noon.”
    • Manner: “He speaks with enthusiasm.”


A pronoun is a word used in place of a noun or noun phrase to avoid repetition and simplify sentences. Pronouns include personal (I, you, he, she, it, we, they), possessive (my, your, his, her, its, our, their), reflexive (myself, yourself), demonstrative (this, that, these, those), interrogative (who, what), and relative (who, whom, which, that).

  • Examples:
    • Personal: “He is my friend.”
    • Possessive: “This is her book.”
    • Reflexive: “I did it myself.”
    • Demonstrative: “These are delicious.”
    • Interrogative: “What do you want?”
    • Relative: “The person who called me was unknown.”


Quantifiers are words or phrases that indicate the amount or quantity of something. They can be used with countable nouns (many, a few) or uncountable nouns (much, a little), and some can be used with both (all, some, a lot of).

  • Examples:
    • Many (countable): “She has many friends.”
    • Much (uncountable): “There isn’t much sugar left.”
    • A few (countable): “There are a few apples in the basket.”
    • A little (uncountable): “He needs a little more time.”
    • All (both): “He ate all the cookies.” / “She spent all her life traveling.”

Question Tag

Question tags are short questions at the end of statements, used to confirm or check information. They are formed using an auxiliary verb (or a modal verb) from the statement and the subject pronoun. The tag is positive if the statement is negative, and negative if the statement is positive.

  • Examples:
    • “You’re coming, aren’t you?
    • “She can’t swim, can she?
    • “It’s hot today, isn’t it?
    • “They won’t mind, will they?

Quotation Marks

Quotation marks are punctuation marks used to indicate direct speech, quotations, or titles of short works. In American English, double quotation marks (” “) are standard, while British English commonly uses single quotation marks (‘ ‘) for the same purposes.

  • Examples:
    • Direct speech: He said, “I’ll be late.
    • Quotation: She has often repeated, “Practice makes perfect.
    • Title of short works: My favorite poem is “The Road Not Taken.

Relative Clause

A relative clause is a type of dependent clause that modifies a noun or noun phrase in the main clause. It usually begins with a relative pronoun (who, whom, whose, which, that) or a relative adverb (where, when, why).

  • Examples:
    • The man who called yesterday is my uncle.” (Defines the man)
    • “I visited the house where I grew up.” (Gives more information about the house)
    • People who exercise regularly tend to be healthier.” (Describes the people)

Reflexive Pronoun

Reflexive pronouns are used when the subject and the object of a sentence are the same person or thing. They end in “-self” (singular) or “-selves” (plural) and are used for emphasis or to indicate that the action of the verb is done to the subject.

  • Examples:
    • “She taught herself to play the piano.”
    • “We enjoyed ourselves at the party.”
    • “The cat licked itself.”

Regular Verb

Regular verbs are verbs that form their past tense and past participle by adding -ed, -d, or -t to the base form. They follow a predictable pattern and do not undergo spelling changes that are characteristic of irregular verbs.

  • Examples:
    • Base form: work, Past tense: worked, Past participle: worked
    • Base form: call, Past tense: called, Past participle: called
    • Base form: want, Past tense: wanted, Past participle: wanted

Reported Speech

Reported speech (also known as indirect speech) involves conveying what someone else said without quoting them directly. It often requires changes in verb tense, pronouns, and time expressions to fit the context of the reporting sentence.

  • Examples:
    • Direct: He said, “I am tired.
    • Reported: He said (that) he was tired.
    • Direct: “I will go to the store tomorrow,” she said.
    • Reported: She said (that) she would go to the store the next day.

Run-on Sentence

A run-on sentence occurs when two or more independent clauses are incorrectly joined without appropriate punctuation or conjunction. It can make sentences difficult to understand and should be corrected by splitting the clauses, adding a conjunction, or using punctuation like a semicolon.

  • Examples:
    • Incorrect: “It’s late we should go home.”
    • Corrected: “It’s late; we should go home.” / “It’s late, so we should go home.”


The subject of a sentence is the person, place, thing, or idea that is doing or being something. The subject usually appears before the predicate to show (a) who or what is performing the action or (b) who or what is the state or condition described by the predicate.

  • Examples:
    • “The cat slept on the mat.” (The cat is performing the action of sleeping.)
    • Happiness is contagious.” (Happiness is the state being described.)

Subject-Verb Agreement

Subject-verb agreement refers to the grammatical rule that the verb must agree in number with its subject. Singular subjects take singular verbs, and plural subjects take plural verbs.

  • Examples:
    • Singular: “The dog barks.”
    • Plural: “The dogs bark.”
    • “She writes every day.” (Singular subject and verb)
    • “They write every day.” (Plural subject and verb)

Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood is used to express wishes, hypothetical situations, demands, or suggestions. It is most commonly seen in that-clause following verbs indicating importance or urgency, and expressions beginning with “if” and “wish.”

  • Examples:
    • “I wish I were a bird.” (Hypothetical situation)
    • “It is essential that he be present.” (Demand)
    • “If I were you, I would apologize.” (Suggestion)

Subordinate Clause

A subordinate clause, also known as a dependent clause, cannot stand alone as a complete sentence because it does not express a complete thought. It needs to be connected to an independent clause to make sense.

  • Examples:
    • “Because I was late, I missed the bus.” (The subordinate clause is “Because I was late.”)
    • “I will call you when I arrive.” (The subordinate clause is “when I arrive.”)


A suffix is a letter or group of letters added to the end of a word to change its meaning or grammatical function. Suffixes can turn a word into a different part of speech, such as a noun to an adjective, or change the tense of a verb.

  • Examples:
    • “-ness” (turns adjectives to nouns): happy → happiness
    • “-ly” (turns adjectives to adverbs): quick → quickly
    • “-ed” (indicates past tense of verbs): walk → walked


Superlatives are adjectives or adverbs that indicate the highest degree of a quality among three or more things. They are often formed by adding “-est” to the end of the adjective or adverb or using “most” or “least” before the word.

  • Examples:
    • “She is the tallest girl in her class.” (Tallest indicates the highest degree of tall.)
    • “This is the most interesting book I’ve ever read.” (Most interesting indicates the highest degree of interesting.)


Synonyms are words that have nearly the same meaning or similar meanings. They can be used to avoid repetition or to adjust the tone of communication.

  • Examples:
    • Happy: glad, joyful, delighted
    • Fast: quick, speedy, rapid


Tense is a grammatical category that locates a situation in time, to indicate when the action or state described by the verb takes place. English has three main tenses: past, present, and future, each of which can be simple, continuous, perfect, or perfect continuous.

  • Examples:
    • Past Simple: “He walked to the store.”
    • Present Continuous: “She is walking to the store.”
    • Future Perfect: “They will have walked to the store by noon.”

Transitive Verb

A transitive verb is a verb that requires one or more objects to complete its meaning. The action of a transitive verb is done to someone or something.

  • Examples:
    • “She reads a book.” (Book is the object of reads.)
    • “He loves his job.” (Job is the object of loves.)

Transition Words

Transition words are words or phrases that provide a connection between ideas, sentences, and paragraphs. They help to make a piece of writing more coherent and smoother.

  • Examples:
    • Addition: also, furthermore, moreover
    • Contrast: however, on the other hand, nevertheless
    • Sequence: first, next, finally
    • Example: for instance, for example, such as


A verb is a word that expresses an action, occurrence, or state of being. Verbs are central to a sentence and show what the subject is doing or what condition the subject is in.

  • Examples:
    • Action: run, jump, write
    • Occurrence: become, happen, occur
    • State of being: be, seem, appear

Uncountable Noun

Uncountable nouns, also known as mass nouns, refer to substances, concepts, and quantities that cannot be counted. They do not have a plural form and are used with a singular verb. Uncountable nouns often refer to food, liquids, activities, abstract ideas, or qualities.

  • Examples:
    • Water: “Water is essential for life.”
    • Advice: “She gave me a lot of advice.”
    • Information: “He has the information you need.”
    • Happiness: “Happiness is important in life.”


An understatement is a figure of speech in which a writer or speaker deliberately makes a situation seem less important or serious than it is. It is often used for comedic effect or to emphasize the magnitude of a statement.

  • Examples:
    • “It’s a bit chilly today.” (Said during a severe snowstorm.)
    • “He’s not too bad at soccer.” (Referring to a professional soccer player.)
    • “The hurricane caused some damage.” (Referring to extensive devastation.)


A verb is a word that expresses an action, occurrence, or state of being. Verbs are essential to the construction of a sentence because they indicate what the subject is doing or the situation the subject is in. Verbs can change form to indicate tense, mood, and voice.

  • Examples:
    • Action verb: “She runs every morning.”
    • Linking verb: “He seems happy.”
    • Auxiliary verb: “They have finished their work.”

Verb Phrase

A verb phrase consists of a main verb along with its helping (auxiliary) verbs. Verb phrases express actions or states of being and can include modals to indicate necessity, possibility, obligation, or other moods.

  • Examples:
    • “She can swim very fast.”
    • “They have been watching TV all day.”
    • “I will be going to the store soon.”


In grammar, voice refers to the form of a verb that indicates whether the subject of the sentence performs the action (active voice) or receives the action (passive voice).

  • Examples:
    • Active voice: “The chef prepared the meal.” (The chef performs the action.)
    • Passive voice: “The meal was prepared by the chef.” (The meal receives the action.)


A vowel is a speech sound made without any significant constriction of the flow of air from the lungs. In English, the vowels are A, E, I, O, U, and sometimes Y. Vowels can be short or long and are critical for the formation of syllables and words.

  • Examples:
    • Short vowel: a in cat, e in bed, i in sit, o in hot, u in sun
    • Long vowel: a in cake, e in see, i in kite, o in coat, u in cute

Vowel Sound

Vowel sounds are produced when air flows freely through the mouth without being blocked by the teeth, tongue, or lips. English has both short and long vowel sounds as well as diphthongs, which are complex vowel sounds that begin as one vowel sound and glide into another.

  • Examples:
    • Short vowel sound: a as in apple
    • Long vowel sound: i as in ice
    • Diphthong: oi as in coin, ou as in house


Wh-questions are questions that begin with the words who, what, where, when, why, which, and how. These questions seek specific information and are used to inquire about people, objects, locations, times, reasons, methods, and choices.

  • Examples:
    • Who are you going to the concert with?
    • What time does the movie start?
    • Where did you put my keys?
    • When is your birthday?
    • Why are you laughing?
    • Which dress should I wear?
    • How do you make this recipe?

Word Order

Word order in English grammar refers to the arrangement of words in a sentence. The standard word order for English sentences is Subject-Verb-Object (SVO), although variations can occur, especially in questions, passive constructions, and for emphasis.

  • Examples:
    • Standard SVO: She eats breakfast.
    • Question: What does she eat for breakfast?
    • Passive: Breakfast is eaten by her.
    • For emphasis: Breakfast she eats.

Writing Styles

Writing styles are the manner in which an author chooses to express their thoughts and ideas in writing. There are four main types of writing styles: expository, descriptive, persuasive, and narrative, each serving a different purpose and audience.

  • Examples:
    • Expository: Writing to inform or explain something, such as in a news article.
    • Descriptive: Using detailed descriptions to give the reader a vivid picture, such as in a novel.
    • Persuasive: Writing that aims to convince the reader of a particular point of view, such as in an opinion column.
    • Narrative: Telling a story or recounting events, such as in a personal memoir.

X-bar Theory

X-bar theory is a component of linguistic theory which suggests that all phrases in a language can be broken down into a hierarchical structure. While not directly a term used in everyday grammar teaching, it is fundamental in understanding the deep structure of language syntax.

  • Examples:
    • Noun phrases (NP) and verb phrases (VP) can be structured in layers, with a head (N for noun, V for verb) at each level, potentially expanded by additional elements like determiners or adverbs.

Yes-no Questions

Yes-no questions are questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” They typically involve an auxiliary verb and a change in word order from the standard SVO to auxiliary + subject + main verb.

  • Examples:
    • Is she coming to the party?
    • Have you ever traveled abroad?
    • Can you swim?

Zero Article

The zero article refers to the absence of an article before a noun. In English, not all nouns require a preceding article. The zero article is often used with plural and uncountable nouns when speaking about them in a general sense.

  • Examples:
    • Children love to play.
    • Information is valuable.
    • Water is essential for life.


Zeugma is a figure of speech in which a word, usually a verb or an adjective, applies to more than one noun, blending together grammatically and logically different ideas.

  • Examples:
    • She lost her wallet and her temper.
    • He opened his mind and his laptop.

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