Glossary

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ATop
Absolute phrase
An expression, usually a noun followed by a participle, that modifies an entire clause or sentence and can appear anywhere in the sentence. (The stallion pawed the ground, chestnut mane and tail swirling in the wind.)
Active voice
A verb form that indicates the subject is performing the action.
Adjective
A word or phrase that describes, or modifies, a noun or pronoun. (The small brown cow leaned against the old fence).
Adverb
A word or phrase that modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb (The cow bawled loudly.)
Antecedent
The noun to which a pronoun refers.
Appositive
A word or group of words that adds information about a subject or object by identifying it in a different way (my dog Rover, Hal’s brother Fred)
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There are currently no glossary items in this category.
CTop
Clause
A group of words that contains a subject and a predicate
Cliché
A trite expression, worn out from too much use
Collective noun
A singular noun that names a group of people or things acting together or individually. (herd, class, crowd)
Comparative
A form of an adjective or adverb that compares two items. For most regular adverbs and adjectives, it is formed by adding -er if the word is one or two syllables long (colder, greasier) or by adding more in front of the word if it has three or more syllables or ends in -ly (more beautiful).
Complement
A word or group of words that describes or renames a subject or object
Complete sentence
A word group that includes both a subject and a predicate and can stand alone
Compound predicate
A word group that contains two or more verbs linked by a conjunction
Compound subject
A subject consisting of two or more nouns or pronouns linked by and (My mother and my sister drove home.)
Conjunction
A linking word that connects words or groups of words through coordination (and, but) or subordination (because, although, unless)
Conjunctive adverb
A linking word that connects independent clauses and shows a relationship between two ideas. Common conjunctive adverbs include however, therefore, and furthermore. (Armando is a serious student; therefore he studies everyday.)
Coordinating conjunction
A linking word that joins elements of equal or near-equal importance. There are seven coordinating conjunctions: and, but, or, nor, for, yet, and so. (Jack and Jill, sink or swim)
Correlative conjunction
A pair of linking words (such as either/or, not only/but also) that appear separately but work together to join parts of a sentence. (Neither his friends nor her like pizza.)
Count noun
A noun with both singular and plural forms that refers to an item that can be counted (apple, apples)
DTop
Dependent clause
A clause that contains a subject and a predicate but does not express a complete thought. It must be linked to an independent clause to stand alone as a grammatically complete sentence.
Direct question
A question that uses the questioner’s exact words, set off by quotation marks. (The detective asked, “Where were you the night he was killed?”)
Direct quotation
A person’s exact words, either spoken or written, set off by quotation marks. (She said, “I’ll call you tomorrow.”)
Direct object
The target of a verb that completes the action performed by the subject or asserted about the subject. (I photographed the sheriff.)
ETop
Euphemisms
Plain truths dressed in attractive words; sometimes hard facts stated gently and pleasantly
FTop
Formal language
The impersonal language of educated persons, usually written. It is marked by relatively complex sentences and does not use contractions (doesn’t, won’t). The writer’s attitude is serious.
GTop
Gender
The classification of pronouns as masculine (he, his, him), feminine (she, hers, her), or neutered (it, its). Plural pronouns do not have a gender.
Gerund
A form of verb, ending in -ing, that functions as a noun (Lacey likes playing in the street band.)
HTop
Helping verb
A verb added to a main verb to show variations in its action (do, can, have, will)
ITop
Indefinite pronoun
A pronoun standing for an unspecified person or thing, including singular forms (any, each, everyone, no one) and plural forms (both, few). It refers to people, places, or things in general (anywhere, everyone, everything)
Independent clause
A clause containing a subject and a verb that can stand alone as a sentence.
Indirect question
A sentence that paraphrases what a question is or was. (The detective asked her to provide an alibi.)
Indirect quotation
A summary of what a person said or wrote. Indirect quotations do not use the exact words. (She said she would call me, but she never did.)
Indirect object
A person or thing affected by the subject’s action, usually the recipient of the direct object, though indicated by a verb such as bring, get, offer, promise, sell, show, tell, write. (Charlene asked you a question.)
Interjection
A word or expression (oh, alas) that inserts an outburst of feeling at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence
Intransitive verb
A verb that is complete in itself and needs no object (The surgeon paused.)
JTop
Jargon
Specialized vocabulary used by people in a particular field. It can also refer to needlessly pretentious language.
KTop
There are currently no glossary items in this category.
LTop
Levels of language
Range from formal to informal and should be appropriate for audience, subject matter, and purpose.
Linking verb
A verb (forms of be and feel, look, and taste) that shows a state of being by linking the sentence subject with a word that names or describes the subject. (The sky is blue.)
MTop
Main clause
A group of words that has both a subject and a verb and can stand alone as a complete sentence (My sister has a friend.)
Main verb
The verb in a sentence that identifies the central action (hit, stopped)
Modifier
A word or group of words that describes, changes, qualifies, or limits the meaning of another word or group of words in a sentence (Plays staged by the drama class are always successful.)
Mood
Indicates whether the sentence states a fact or asks a question (indicative mood), gives a command or direction (imperative mood), or expresses a condition contrary to fact, a wish, or a suggestion (subjunctive mood)
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Noncount noun
A noun that cannot be made plural because it refers to an item that cannot be counted (cheese, salt, air)
Nonrestrictive word group
Describes or modifies a word or phrase in a sentence, but it does not change the meaning of the word or phrase
Noun
A word that names a person, a place, a thing, or an idea
Number
A term that classifies nouns or pronouns as singular (I, you, he, she, it, apple) or plural (we, you, they, apples)
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Object complement
A noun, adjective, or other group that completes or renames the direct object of a sentence (The judges rated Hugo the best skater.)
PTop
Parenthetical expression
An aside to readers or a transitional expression such as, for example or in contrast
Participle
A participle is a type of verbal, a verb form that does not function as a verb. Verbals can function as adjectives, adverbs, or nouns. Participles end in either -ing (the present participle) or -ed or -d (the past participle).
Passive voice
A verb form that indicates the subject is receiving the action.
Person
Person indicates whether the subject is speaking (first person–I, we), is being spoken to (second person–you), or is being spoken about (third person–he, she, they, it). Person shows the writer’s point of view. Personal pronouns indicate whether the writer is the speaker (first person–I, we), the person spoken to (second person–you), or the person or thing spoken about (third person–he, she, it, they, one).
Personal pronoun
A pronoun (I, me, you, he, she, we, them) that stands for a noun that names a person
Phrase
Two or more related words that work together but may lack a subject, a verb, or both. Phrases can appear at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence.
Possessive pronoun
A form of personal pronoun (his, our/ours) that shows ownership
Predicate
The part of a sentence that indicates what the subject does (Birds fly), what happens to the subject (Birds are kept as pets), or what is said about the subject (Birds are warmblooded).
Preposition
A transitional word (in, on, at, of, from) that leads into a phrase such as in the bar or under a rickety table
Prepositional phrase
A group of words that begins with a preposition and includes the object or objects of the preposition and all their modifiers (above the low wooden table)
Present participle
A form of verb that cannot function alone as a main verb but can act as an adjective (Leading the pack, Michael crossed the finish line.)
Pronoun
A word that takes the place of a noun (he, him, his)
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There are currently no glossary items in this category.
RTop
Relative pronouns
A pronoun (who, which, that, what, whom, whomever, whose) that introduces a dependent clause that functions as an adjective. Relative pronouns refer back to a noun or pronoun that the clause modifies. (It took all my powers of self-control to stop myself from pushing him out the window, which was open and right behind him.)
Restrictive word group
A word group that is necessary to explain what the word it modifies means
STop
Sentence
A word group that includes both a subject and a predicate and can stand alone
Slang
Trendy sayings or figures of speech that go in and out of style (he’s totally clueless, she got ripped off).
Subject
The part of a sentence that names something—a person, a place, a thing, an idea, a situation—about which the predicate makes an assertion (The king lives.)
Subject complement
A noun, adjective, or word group that follows a linking verb and completes or renames the subject of a sentence (The plum tastes ripe.)
Subordinate clause
A group of words that contains a subject and a verb but cannot stand alone because it depends on a main clause to help it make sense (Pia, who plays the oboe, prefers solitude.)
Subordinating conjunction
A word (because, although, if, when) used to make one clause dependent on, or subordinate to, another (Unless you have a key, we are locked out.)
Superlative form
A adjective or adverb that compares three or more items. For most regular adverbs and adjectives, it is formed by adding -est if the word is one or two syllables long (coldest, greasiest) or by adding most in front of the word if it has three or more syllables or ends in -ly (most beautiful)
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Tense
Verb tense expresses time; it conveys whether the action, occurrence, or state of being takes place in the past, present, or future.
Tone
The attitude a writer conveys in his or her writing
Transitive verb
A verb that must have an object to complete its meaning (Alan hit the ball.)
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There are currently no glossary items in this category.
VTop
Verb
A word that shows action, occurrence, or a state of being
Verb tense
An expression of time; it conveys whether the action, occurrence, or state of being takes place in the past, present, or future.
Voice
A verb form that indicates whether a subject is active or passive. In the active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action. In the passive voice, the subject receives the action.
WTop
There are currently no glossary items in this category.
XTop
There are currently no glossary items in this category.
YTop
There are currently no glossary items in this category.
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There are currently no glossary items in this category.

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