Glossary

Below you will find a list of words and terms you might encounter on this site. This page is updated frequently. All definitions borrowed from Merriam-Webster, Wikipedia, or Analyzing English Grammar, Sixth Ed. by Klammer, Schulz, and Volpe.

Adverb – A form-class word; frequently can move in its sentence; usually modifies verbs, adjectives, adverbs, or the whole sentence (Time passed quickly).

Clause – A sequence of words containing a subject and predicate; may be dependent or independent.

Complementizer – A word or phrase that completes the predicate, such as direct and indirect objects, subject complements, object complements (Bill grew impatient; Bill grew roses).

Demonstrative adjective – The adjectives this, these, that, and those.*

Demonstrative pronoun – The pronouns this, these, that, and those.

Descriptive grammar – An analysis of the patterns of language by the application of the principles of linguistics; in contrast to prescriptive grammar, descriptive grammar is characterized by generalizations based on observation and analysis and date rather than on opinion and belief.

Direct object – A noun or phrase that completes the meaning of a transitive verb (Someone bought that yellow house).

Independent clause – a clause able to stand alone as a sentence (Paula started the fire).

International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) – A set of common symbols used by linguists to represent accurately the sounds of any language in the world.

Intransitive Verb – A verb that has no complement or has an adverb as its complement (The baby is sleeping).

Nominal clause – A clause that can substitute for a noun or noun phrase. Usually a that-clause (I know that we will have an election soon) or an interrogative clause (He asked who was on the phone).

Noun – A form-class word; most nouns can be made plural or possessive; typically, nouns name entities or concrete or abstract things (e.g., pencil, Fred, sincerity).

Noun phrase – As a sentence constituent, a noun (people) or any group of words that can substitute for a noun (People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones).

Phonetics – Of or relating to spoken language or speech sounds; representing the sounds and other phenomena of speech

Preposition – A structure-class word that precedes a noun phrase functioning as its object; together, the preposition and its object form a unit that can modify form-class words; can be simple (to, under, of) or phrasal (because of)

Prepositional phrase – A preposition followed by a noun phrase functioning as its object (up the street).

Prescriptive grammar – In contrast to descriptive grammars based on linguistic observation and analysis, prescriptive grammar judges particular items of language usage as either “correct” or “incorrect,” based on opinion and tradition dating in part from the eighteenth century; the regulative rules found in writer’s handbooks and some textbooks.

Relative clause – A clause that begins with a relative pronoun or relative adverb and modifies a noun or noun phrase that precedes it (the boy who lives here).

Relative pronoun – The pronouns who, whose, whom, that, and which, used to introduce relative clauses (The boy who lives here).

Restrictive relative clause – A relative clause that identifies the referent of a noun or noun phrase that it modifies; not set off with commas (A man who is in his eighties is an octogenarian).

Subordinating conjunction – A structure-class word that makes one clause dependent on another (e.g., although, because).

Transitive Verb – A verb that has a direct object as its complement (Betty owns that car).

Verb – A form-class word having an {-s} affix in the third-person singular (He walks) and an [-ing] affix in the present participle form (He is walking); typically, verbs designate actions, sensations, and states (swim, feel, seem).

Voiced alveolar stopa “d” sound, represented in the IPA by a {d} (dart, pond).

Voiced dental fricative – a hard “th” sound, represented in the IPA by an {ð} (rather, this).

Voiceless alveolar stop – a “t” sound, represented in the IPA by a {t} (take, cat).

Voiceless dental fricative – a soft “th” sound, represented in the IPA by an {θ} (think, math).

Voiceless velar stop – a “k” sound, represented in the IPA by a {k} (cabinet, lake).

2 thoughts on “Glossary

  1. Pingback: Lying is Wrong, Unless It’s Right: Cleaning Up the “Lie vs. Lay” Mess | Mighty Markup

  2. Pingback: In the News: Professor Pullum’s Five Points | Mighty Markup

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