HyperGrammar 2: Glossary of grammatical terms
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- Identifies, describes, limits or qualifies a noun or pronoun. For example, awesome, best, both, happy, our, this, three, whose and yellow are adjectives.
- Identifies, describes, limits or qualifies a verb, an adjective, another adverb or a group of words. For example, almost, also, eloquently, not, often, rapidly, really, someday, thus and very are adverbs.
- Links words, phrases or clauses. Although, and, because, but, if, neither … nor, or, so that, unless and whenever are all examples of conjunctions.
- definite article:
- Precedes a noun and restricts its meaning by referring to a specific thing (e.g. “the server crashed”) or person (e.g. “the minister spoke briefly”). The word the is the only definite article in the English language.
- direct object:
- Receives the action of a transitive verb. The direct object answers the question what? or who? about the verb. For example, the noun report is the direct object in the sentence “I handed in my monthly report.” It answers the question “What did I hand in?”
- indefinite article:
- Precedes a noun (either a thing or a person) whose specific identity is unknown to the reader (e.g. “a pilot project,” “an auditor”). The words a and an are the only two indefinite articles in the English language.
- indirect object:
- Names the person or thing affected by the verb. The indirect object answers the question to whom?, for whom?, to what? or for what? For example, the noun supervisor is the indirect object in the sentence “I handed in my monthly report to my supervisor.” It answers the question “To whom did I hand in my monthly report?”
- Expresses surprise or sudden, strong emotion. Some commonly used interjections are darn, hey you, oops, rats, uh-uh and wow. The interjection, which is generally followed by an exclamation point or a question mark, is often placed at the beginning or the end of a sentence.
- intransitive verb:
- Does not require a direct object to complete its meaning. Examples of intransitive verbs include growl (e.g. “the bear is growling”), crash (e.g. “my computer crashed”) and ring (e.g. “the bell rang”).
- linking verb:
- Does not express an action. A linking verb connects the subject to its subject complement. The verbs be (e.g. “my team leader is efficient”), become (e.g. “Julia became deputy minister”) and seem (e.g. “the staff seems satisfied”) are all examples of linking verbs.
- Designates an idea (immortality), a person (astronaut, Gretzky), place (penalty box), thing (canoe), entity (Group of Seven), quality (determination), or point in time (tomorrow).
- Makes a statement about the subject. The predicate consists of a verb and its objects, complements and modifiers. For example, “handed in my monthly report to my supervisor” is the predicate of the sentence “I handed in my monthly report to my supervisor.”
- Often precedes a noun or pronoun to form a phrase that identifies, describes, limits or qualifies a part of a sentence. Common prepositions include about, above, except, for, into, of, prior to, underneath and via. A preposition may also follow a verb to form a phrasal verb (make up, try out).
- Generally acts as a substitute for a noun. The words I, you, it, me, them, someone, anything, few, mine, yours, herself, ourselves, each other, who and which are all examples of pronouns.
- Names who or what a sentence is about. A subject is always a noun, pronoun or noun phrase. For example, the pronoun I is the subject of the sentence “I handed in my monthly report to my supervisor.”
- subject complement:
- Follows a linking verb (be, seem, smell) and completes the meaning of the subject by renaming it (e.g. supervisor in “Janet is my supervisor”) or describing it (e.g. tired in “Jack seems tired”). A subject complement may be a noun, a pronoun or an adjective.
- transitive verb:
- Requires a direct object to complete its meaning. Some transitive verbs may also take an indirect object. The verbs break (e.g. “you broke your computer”), call (e.g. “he called her on the phone”) and give (e.g. “I gave the manager the file”) are all examples of transitive verbs.
- Expresses an action (break, call, tremble, skate), an occurrence (happen, occur) or a state of being (appear, become, seem).
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© Département d’anglais, Faculté des arts, Université d’Ottawa
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