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  • Accent and dialect

    Accent is how we speak; dialect is the words we use – technically! But many...

  • Active and passive ‘voice’

    This involves an aspect of the grammar (or properly. The syntax) a sentence or...

  • Adjective

    An adjective is a member of a grammatical word class that functions to modify...

  • Adjacency Pairs

    An adjacency pair is two speech turns made by different speakers...

  • Agency

    Agency is an aspect of a clause or sentence. Typically, the agent of a clause...

  • Agenda

    The motives of the speakers in a conversation.

  • Agreement

    Agreement is an aspect of English grammar. Within a clause structure certain...

  • Adverb

    An adverb is typically a word or phrase that modifies or provides extra detail...

  • Adverbial

    An adverbial is a grammatical term used to label any part of a clause that...

  • Ambiguity

    This means ‘more than one possible meaning’. The rules of grammar exist to...

  • Archaic

    If a word is described as archaic, it suggests its use is now old-fashioned....

  • Article

    One of a very small class of words, akin to adjectives, called determiners....

  • Audience

    ‘Audience’ refers broadly to the kind of reader or listener the text was...

  • Auxiliary verb

    English verbs are limited as to what they can indicate on their own, i.e....

  • Clause

    A clause is a key grammatical structure. Thought of at its simplest, a clause...

  • Cohesion

    Many patterns of words exhibit a quality known as cohesion. This means that...

  • Collocation

    Many words are habitually put together – or collocated. A collocation is any...

  • Colloquial / slang

    A ‘colloquy’ is simply a formal word for ‘conversation’, so colloquial...

  • Complement

    A word, phrase or clause that follows a verb (or, in some grammars, also a...

  • Conjunction

    A word class composed of words that are used as ‘joining words’....

  • Connotation / denotation

    The denotation of a word is its direct, literal or specific meaning (the one...

  • Context

    Context is a central aspect of language use. It refers to ‘things’ that...

  • Copula / linking verb

    A very few verbs act only to link a subject to a complement, for example, the...

  • Determiner

    One of a small group of words that precedes and pre-modifies a noun to create...

  • Discourse / discourse analysis / discourse structure

    Calling a text a ‘discourse’ means to consider its original existence as a...

  • Element

    A grammatical or clause element is a distinct grammatical unit – one of the...

  • Elision

    Elision is the omission of one or more sounds from a word, e.g. a vowel,...

  • Ellipsis

    When we speak or write, we try to be succinct. Grammar allows the use of...

  • Ephemeral

    A term that means ‘lasting for a short time’, i.e. transitory. In the...

  • Finite / non finite

    This word applies only to certain verbs. A verb in a sentence can exist on its...

  • Form and content

    Form is what gives rise to meaning; without form, there can be no meaning....

  • Function

    The function of a word is what it ‘does’ in its sentence, e.g. its...

  • Genre

    The genre of a text is its type or kind. It’s a word that can be applied to...

  • Grammar

    Grammar is the set of ‘rules’ or conventions that tells how words can be...

  • Graphology

    Graphology is concerned with the form of a written text, i.e. its shape,...

  • Head / head word

    All phrases have what is called a head or head word. This is the word within...

  • Ideology

    Ideology refers to the values and attitudes we all share towards such things...

  • Idiomatic Language

    Idiomatic language refers to many words or phrases that are a familiar and...

  • Imperative

    The imperative mood is a form of grammar that allows the creation of a...

  • Infinitive

    A ‘bare’ form of a verb without tense but one that is often introduced by...

  • Inflection / inflexion/ inflected

    The way words can change their form to show, for example, that they are...

  • Intensifiers

    Intensifiers are a special kind of adverb. An intensifier is used when the...

  • Intransitive

    A verb is called intransitive when no action transfers from its subject to an...

  • Interjection

    A word class that is used to show emotion, e.g. ‘Ouch!’, ‘Hey!’...

  • Irony

    Irony is the name given to an effect of meaning created when one thing is said...

  • Lexeme

    A lexeme or lexical item is a word – or occasionally a phrase – in its...

  • Latinate

    This term refers to those many rather formal and often multisyllabic words in...

  • Lexical (dynamic) and stative verbs

    Lexical or dynamic verbs tell of an action (to hit, to call, to sing); stative...

  • Lexis and Semantics

    Lexis concerns word choice; semantics concerns meaning. Clearly the two...

  • Modifier / Modification / Pre-modification / Post-modification

    Modification describes the grammatical process through which the meaning of a...

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