Grammar Terms – Conditional Sentence, Conjugation, Conjunct, Coordinate structure

November 17, 2010

Conditional is a traditional label for the modal auxiliary verbs would and should when they do not express obligation. The name is given because sentences with these auxiliary verbs often imply an unstated condition. For example, the sentence ‘I would like a drink’ appears to imply something like ‘If I had a choice’. In practice, […]

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What are complements?

November 16, 2010

The label complement is applied to several different things. A subject complement A subject complement is a word or phrase which follows a copular verb. It either modifies the subject or denotes something identical to the subject. The bold italic items in the following sentences are examples of subject complements. Jane is an advocate. Susie […]

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What is an appositive?

November 12, 2010

The label appositive refers to a noun phrase which immediately follows another noun phrase of identical reference. An appositive is usually non-restrictive which means that it only gives additional information about the first noun phrase whose reference in quite clear. In writing a non-restrictive appositive is set off by commas. The phrases set off by […]

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Antecedent and Anaphor

October 29, 2010

An antecedent is a linguistic expression which provides the interpretation for a second expression (anaphor) which has little meaning of its own. An antecedent is usually a noun phrase. In the examples given below, the first bold item is the antecedent and the second is the anaphor referring to it. If you see Alice, give […]

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Grammar terms – adverb, adverb phrases, adverb clauses and adverbial participles

October 28, 2010

Adverbs Adverbs are words like slowly, happily, here, now and tomorrow. An adverb usually modifies a verb and provides more information about the manner, time, place or circumstances of the activity denoted by the verb or verb phrase. An adverb may also modify an adjective or another adverb. Most adverbs can be modified by degree […]

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Grammar terms beginning with letter A

October 25, 2010

Absolute comparative The label absolute comparative refers to a comparative form used without a standard of comparison. Example: the younger generation. There is no answer to the question ‘younger than who?’ Absolute construction A phrase which has no grammatical link of any kind to the sentence containing it. An absolute construction is linked to the […]

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Grammar Terms – Part II

October 17, 2010

Dialect The label dialect refers to any distinctive speech variety associated with the people of a particular region (regional dialect) or a social group (social dialect). English has a number of regional dialects. The English spoken in London, for example, is somewhat different from the English spoken in New York or Chicago. There are also […]

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Grammar Terms – Part I

October 17, 2010

Dangling participle The term dangling participle refers to a participle which is not grammatically linked to the rest of the sentence. For example, in the sentence ‘Standing at the gate, a scorpion stung him’, the participial phrase ‘standing at the gate’ is dangling. It appears to be linked (wrongly) to a scorpion. It should therefore […]

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Uses of the participle

June 24, 2010

To form the continuous tenses The present participles are used to construct the continuous tense forms. I am writing. They are coming. It was raining. She will be sleeping. To form the perfect tenses The past participles are used to construct the perfect tense forms. He has written a novel. The boy has broken yet […]

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What are participles?

June 23, 2010

Read the following sentence: Hearing a loud noise, the boy woke up. Here the word hearing qualifies the noun boy as an adjective does. It is formed from the verb hear and has an object – noise. The word hearing, therefore, has the properties of a verb and an adjective and is called a participle. […]

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