Grammatical terms


The grammatical category which is used to distinguish participants in a conversation. English distinguishes three persons.

The first person represents the speaker or speakers. The pronouns are I and we. The second person represents the hearer or hearers. The pronoun is you. The third person represents everything and everybody else. The pronouns are: he, she, they and it.

Phrasal genitive

The construction in which the preposition of and a possessive form appear. Examples are: a friend of mine, that brother of Peter’s etc

Phrasal verb

A complex verb form consisting of a simple verb and an adverb particle. Examples are: make up, put off, put away, turn on etc.

A phrasal verb differs from a prepositional verb in three respects.

  1. The particle in a phrasal verb is stressed. The preposition in a prepositional verb is not stressed.
  2. The particle of a phrasal verb can be moved to the end. The preposition of a prepositional verb cannot be moved to the end.
  3. You cannot put an adverb between the two parts of a phrasal verb. An adverb can go between the two parts of a prepositional verb.


A sequence of one or more words which forms a grammatical unit. There are five principal types of phrases in English: noun phrase, verb phrase, adjective phrase, adverb phrase and prepositional phrase.

Plurale tantum

A noun which is plural in form, even though it may be singular in sense. Examples are: oats, cattle, pants, scissors and tweezers.