A Grammarian’s Lexicon


This lexicon offers concise definitions of grammar, usage, and style terminology. For basic explanations of grammar rules, please see our guide to grammar.

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M]
[N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]

- A -

absolute adjective - An adjective with a meaning that cannot be compared or modified with an adverb of degree, such as unique, perfect, or square. Avoid such usages as “very perfect,” “extremely unique,” or “more square.”

absolute phrase - A noun phrase including a post-noun modifier and relating to the sentence as a whole, providing more detail or a point of focus.

He stood at the podium, his hands tightly gripping the sides.

abstract noun - A noun that refers to a quality, such as peace or happiness, rather than a concrete object.

action verb - A verb stating what a subject does, did, or will do.

active voice - Sentences in which the subject performs an action upon a direct object.

adjectival - Any sentence structure that functions as a modifier of a noun. Adjectivals function as adjectives.

adjective - A word describing a noun or pronoun.

adjective clause - A clause that acts as an adjective.

adjective phrase - An adjective and any associated modifiers.

adverb - A word or group of words describing a verb. Adverbs can also modify adjectives, adverbs, or verbs.

adverbial - Any sentence structure acting as an adverb, modifying a verb, adjective, or another adverb.

adverbial clause - A clause that functions as an adverb and begins with the subordinating conjunction if, because, when, before.

adverbial phrase - A prepositional phrase acting as an adverb.

agency - The relationship of the subject and the verb in a sentence.

agent - The initiator of the sentence. Usually the agent is the subject in an active sentence. The agent causes the action.

The committee elected Pam.

Pam was elected by the committee.

agreement - A term used to mean that parts of speech match within a sentence.

ambiguity - When a word or group of words in a sentence has more than one possible meaning. The source may be lexical, structural, or both.

Lexical: She is blue.
Structural: Visiting relatives can be boring.
Both: The detective looked very hard.

anaphora - Repetition of words at the beginning of successive sentences.

anastrophe - A figure of speech describing a reversal of the normal order of a sentence.

You know the rest of the story.

The rest of the story you know.

antecedent - The noun for which a pronoun takes the place.

antithesis - The juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in a sentence.

You might want peace, but you caused a war.

antonym - A word meaning the opposite of another word in the same context.

apostrophe - A punctuation mark [] showing possession by a noun or pronoun or replacing omitted letters in contractions. Not a single tick mark or prime [].

appositive - A noun or pronoun renaming another noun or pronoun.

appositive phrase - A phrase acting as an appositive.

articles - The words a, an, and the that determine whether a noun is specific or unspecific.

asyndeton - A figure of speech describing the omission of a conjunction.

I came, I saw, I conquered.

auxiliary verb - Parts of a verb phrase indicating the tense of the main verb.

- B -

backgrounding - Placing known information, or the least significant information, in a subordinate role in a sentence rather than in a position of main focus.

body - The central part of any document. The body of a letter, the body of an essay, or even the body of an online document.

braces / brackets - Punctuation marks [{ } and [ ]] used to signify omitted words or to add a clarification within text.

broad reference - A pronoun referring to a complete sentence, or independent clause, rather than to a specific noun. The broad-reference clause is introduced by which. The demonstrative pronouns this, that, these, those and the personal pronoun it can be broad references.

Sally talks about herself a lot; it annoys the other writers.

- C -

case - 1) In English, the cases of a noun or pronoun are: nominative, objective, and possessive. A nominative noun acts upon an objective noun or pronoun. 2) Referring to the capitalization, or lack thereof, of letters or words.

categorical proposition - A sentence with a logical proposition in which the predicate describes or makes an assertion about the subject.

Education is the key to democracy.

clause - A set of words containing a subject and verb. An independent clause is a complete sentence, while a dependent clause cannot stand alone.

cleft sentence - A sentence variation using it or what to shift the sentence focus.

A drunken driver caused the accident.

It was a drunken driver who caused the accident.

cliché - An overused expression.

climax - The arrangement of a series or words, phrases, or clauses in order of importance. Do not confuse with a literary climax.

cohesion - The property of sentences and paragraphs that work together. Cohesive ties are furnished by pronouns that have antecedents in previous sentences, by adverbial connections, and by informational connections.

collective noun - A noun referring to a group of people or things. In American English, collective nouns are grammatically singular. In International English they are treated as plurals.

colon - A punctuation mark [:] functioning like an equal sign and frequently used to begin long lists. Clauses following colons are not capitalized.

comma - A punctuation mark [,] used for separating ideas or, when used as a pair, to enclose an appositive.

comma-splice - A sentence containing two independent clauses incorrectly joined by a comma. Splicing is a common grammatical error, considered a mechanical form of run-on sentence. Often the comma-splice can be fixed by changing the comma to a semi-colon.

command - A synonym for imperative sentence.

common noun - A noun representing a non-specific person, place, thing, or idea. Common nouns are not capitalized.

comparative form - A adjective or adverb ending in -er or preceded by more to indicate two things are not equal.

complement - A structure that completes the meaning of the sentence, including the direct object, indirect object, subject complement, and object complement. The full complement is the predicate of a sentence, excluding the verb.

complex sentence - A sentence with one independent clause and at least one dependent clause.

compound sentence - A sentence with two or more independent clauses.

compound-complex sentence - A sentence with at least two independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.

compound predicate - A predicate containing more than one verb.

compound sentence - A sentence containing two or more independent clauses.

compound subject - A sentence subject with two or more nouns or pronouns joined by and and commas if required.

conditional mood - A sense or attitude of probability, designated by the auxiliary verbs could, might, may, would and should.

conjugate - Changing a verb to its proper form in a specific tense.

conjunction - A word connecting words or sets of words. The common conjunctions are: and, but, or, and nor.

conjunctive adverb - A word sometimes following a semi-colon to clarify how or in what manner the two joined clauses are related. Also called a transitional word.

connotation - A word’s current emotional meaning. Words’ meanings change over time as do their connotations. For example, the word bureaucrat implies an unpleasant or lazy civil servant.

consonant - Any letter representing a non-vowel sound. See vowel.

contraction - Joining two words by omitting letters from the second word. An apostrophe replaces the missing letter or letters.

coordinating conjunctions - A word joining equal sentence structures. There are seven coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, so, yet.

coordination - The joining of two or more equal sentence structures, usually with a coordinating conjunction or a semicolon.

correlative conjunction - A two-part conjunction expressing a relationship between two or more elements: either/or, neither/nor, both/and, not only/but also.

countable nouns - Nouns that are definitely singular or plural. See uncountable nouns.

- D -

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I]
[J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R]
[S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]
[Page Top]

dangling modifier - A word or phrase omitted from a sentence, thereby damaging its clarity.

dash - A punctuation mark [] used to separate and enclose items that dramatically interrupt a thought. A dash is not a hyphen — it is longer and thinner in typography.

declarative sentence - A sentence in the form of a statement, in contrast to a command, a question, or an exclamation.

definite article - The determiner the, indicating a specific or previously mentioned noun.

degree - The degree of an adjective or adverb describes the manner in which it compares one item or group to others. A simple quality, without comparison, is the positive degree; comparing one item to another, the comparative degree; and a comparison to two or more, the superlative degree.

derivational affix - A suffix or prefix added to a word, either to change its part of speech or to change its meaning.

determiner - A word used to identify a noun. Determiners include articles, possessive nouns, pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, indefinite pronouns and numbers.

diction - The selection of words by an author or speaker, usually in connection with the correct choice of words in terms of audience and purpose.

direct address - A noun or phrase addressing a person or group directly. In traditional grammar, this noun is called vocative.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please?

do-support - The addition of the auxiliary do to a verb string that has no other auxiliary. Do also substitutes for a repeated verb phrase in a compound sentence.

demonstrative adjectives - The pronouns this, that, these, and those that are best placed before nouns.

That man would like to buy those doughnuts with this money.

demonstrative pronouns - Using this, that, these, and those without nouns. See demonstrative adjectives for examples.

denotation - The standard meaning of a word.

dependant clause - A clause that cannot stand alone.

direct object - 1) A word or words following an action verb and receiving an action from the subject. 2) The object of a preposition.

direct question - A question forming a complete sentence, placing the verb before the subject.

double negative - Two consecutive negative words or expressions canceling the intended meaning.

- E -

elliptical clause - A clause with intentionally omitted words.

exclamation point - A punctuation mark [!] occurring at the end of a sentence to indicate strong emotion.

exemplification - The use of an example to clarify an idea.

expletive - 1) A word that adds no meaning to a sentence, but enables the writer or speaker to shift the stress or embed an idea within the sentence. 2) An obscenity.

- F -

figurative language - Language that expresses meaning without literal terms, characterized by metaphors, similes, analogies, and personification.

figure of speech - A reference to the forms of figurative language.

flat adverb - An adverb that is the same as its corresponding adjective: fast, high, early, late, hard, long, etc.

foregrounding - Placing the most significant information in the position of prominent focus.

form classes - The primary groups, or classes, of words that provide the meaningful content of the language: nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Grammarians describe the words as lexical.

free modifier - A modifying phrase or clause that opens or closes a sentence, generally expanding on the main idea. Participial phrases, absolute phrases, and presumptive modifiers are common free modifiers.

fragment - An incomplete sentence lacking a subject, verb, or both.

fused sentence - A form of run-on sentence caused by the lack of punctuation or conjunction between two independent clauses.

future perfect tense - A verb phrase referring to an action to be completed at a later time. Future perfect phrases begin with will have.

- G -

gerund - A verb, usually ending in -ing, that acts as a noun.

- H -

headword - The noun or pronoun in a noun phrase.

hedging - Expressing uncertainty or a qualification: may, perhaps, remains to be seen, under certain circumstances.

helping verb - See auxiliary verb.

homonym - A word sounding the same as another but spelled differently.

hyphen - A punctuation mark [-] used to join compound words or to break typed words across two lines on a page.

- I -

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I]
[J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R]
[S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]
[Page Top]

idiom - A colloquial saying unqiue to a language or region. The meaning cannot be predicted from the meaning of individual words in the saying.

imperative [sentence] - A sentence in the form of a command.

indefinite article - The article a, which indicates an unspecified countable noun. See definite article.

indefinite pronoun - A pronoun referring to a non-specific noun.

independent clause - A complete sentence or a portion of a sentence that could stand independently.

indirect object - A noun or pronoun indicating to whom or for whom an action was taken.

indirect question - A question appearing within a sentence that does not end with a question mark.

infinitive - The root form of a verb preceded by the word to. Infinitives can act as nouns in a sentence.

I like to write on rainy days.

infinitive phrase - A verb phrase beginning with an infinitive and functioning as an adjective, adverb, or noun.

inflections - Suffixes added to words to change their grammatical role. Nouns have two inflections suffixes, -s plural and s possessive; verbs have four, -s, -ing, -ed, and -en; adjectives and some adverbs have two, -er and -est.

intensive reflexive pronoun - A reflexive pronoun when it serves as an appositive to emphasize a noun or pronoun. See reflexive pronoun.

interjection - A word showing strong emotion.

intonation - The rhythmic pattern of a spoken sentence, which is affected by its stress, pitch, and pauses. Questions rise in pitch, for example.

intransitive verb - A verb that requires no complement to construct a meaningful sentence.

irregular noun - A noun with an irregular plural form. Regular nouns form plurals by adding -s or -es.

irregular verbs - Verbs breaking the standard present tense or past tense conjugations. Most verbs add an -s for present tense singular agreement and an -ed for past tense forms.

isocolon - A figure of speech describing the repetition of grammatical forms.

A government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

it-cleft - See cleft sentence

- J -

jargon - Any specialized vocabulary.

- K -

known-new contract - A sentence in which old, or known, information appears in the subject, with new information in the predicate.

- L -

levels of generality - A method of paragraph analysis based on the relationship of each sentence to its predecessor, as coordinate, subordinate, or superordinate.

lexical rule - The rules of grammar as they apply to words. For example, only countable nouns can be marked by the indefinite article a or by numbers.

lexicon - A subset of the complete dictionary, usually grouping words by academic discipline or profession. This document is a lexicon.

linking verb - A verb indicating a state of being, a relation to the senses, or a condition. The linking verbs are forms of to be, look, feel, smell, sound, and taste. Synonyms may be used in place of these words.

- M -

main clause - The primary independent clause in a sentence. See independent clause.

main verb - The last verb in a verb phrase, the main verb expresses the action.

manner adverb - An adverb that answers the question of “how” or “in what manner” an action occurs. Most manner adverbs are derived from adjectives with the addition of -ly: quickly, merrily, candidly.

mass noun - No, not a really big noun… See noncountable noun.

mechanics - The implementation of proper grammar and formatting.

metadiscourse - 1) Certain signals, such as connectors and hedges, that communicate and clarify the writer’s attitude, direction, and purpose. 2) The greater discourse on a subject, such as all past research on a topic.

metaphor - A set of words comparing two unlike things.

misplaced modifier - A phrase, clause, or word placed too far from the word it modifies within a sentence.

mixed metaphor - A metaphor comparing items too dissimilar.

modal auxiliary - The auxiliaries may/might, can/could, will/would, shall/should, must, and ought to. Modal auxiliaries affect the mood of the verb, convey probability, possibility, and obligation.

modifier - A word or group of words functioning as an adjective or adverb.

- N -

nominal - Any word or phrase that functions as a noun: subject, direct object, indirect object, complement object, object of preposition, or an appositive.

nominalization - Creating a noun by adding derivational affixes to a word of another class. We tend to frown on converting verbs to nouns… or nouns to verbs.

nominalized verb - See nominalization.

noncountable noun - A conceptual noun referring to an undifferentiated type of object, often a component of other objects: wood, water, sand, sugar, glass, etc. Abstract nouns are also noncountable: justice, love, hate, war, etc. Noncountable nouns are also known as uncountable, immeasurable, and any number of other synonyms.

nonrestrictive modifier - A modifier in the noun phrase that comments on the noun rather than defining the noun. Nonrestrictive modifiers are set off by a comma or commas.

noun - A word naming a person, place, thing, or idea.

noun clause - A dependent clause acting as a noun.

noun phrase - A noun headword with its accompanying modifiers, which may appear before or after the noun.

number - A feature of nouns and pronouns, referring to singular and plural. Only nouns, pronouns, and nominals can have quantities.

- O -

object complement - Completes the idea of the verb and modifies or renames the direct object.

object of a preposition - The noun, pronoun, or noun phrase that follows a preposition, forming a prepositional phrase.

object pronoun - A pronoun following a verb, preposition, or verbal receiving an action or attention. The object pronouns are: me, us, you, him, her, it, and them.

objective case - The role in the sentence of a noun phrase or a pronoun when it functions as an object-direct object, indirect object, object complement, or object of a preposition.

- P -

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I]
[J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R]
[S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]
[Page Top]

parallel structure - Repeating words or phrases for effect.

parataxis - Combining clauses or phrases without using conjunctions; sometimes a dash might be used, for example. See asyndeton.

parenthesis - Punctuation marks [()] enclosing incidental information. A writer must decide which to use: commas, parenthesis, or dashes.

participle - A verb acting as a adjective. The two participle forms are: present and past.

participial phrase - An -ing or -en verb phrase functioning as an adjectival, the modifier of a noun. Participial phrases are marked by commas.

passive voice - A clause in which the subject does not act but is acted upon. Passive sentences are formed using forms of to be.

past progressive tense - A verb phrase indicating that an action was in progress. The auxiliary verbs was or were begin the phrase and the main verb ends with -ing.

past participle - A verb form ending in -ed in most cases. There are more than 100 common irregular past participles.

past perfect tense - A verb phrase describing a completed action from the past. Past perfect tense begins with the auxiliary verb had and concludes with the main verb's past participle.

past tense - A verb indicating a previous action or past event.

period - A punctuation mark [.] completing a sentence. Periods are also used in abbreviations.

person - A reference to point-of-view, pronouns are first person, second person, or third person.

First person: I, we
Second person: you
Third person: he, she, it, they

personal pronoun - A pronoun referring to a specific person or thing. In the subjective case the personal pronouns are: I, you, he, she, we, you, they, and it. Personal pronouns have different forms for the objective and possessive cases.

personification - A figurative use of language in which a human attribute is applied to any noun.

phrasal - A two or three-word verbal combining a main verb with a second word for a unique meaning. Example: Laid up, which means injured or ill.

phrase - A set of words, without a subject or verb, functioning as a single part of speech.

plural - A noun or verb referring to several people, places, things, or ideas.

plural-only noun - A noun with no singular form: shorts, trousers, slacks, scissors, measles, clothes.

point of view - 1) The relationship of the writer to the reader. 2) The character through whom a story is told.

polysyndeton - The use of additional conjunctions in a series.

I invited Harold and Joy and Mary and Jean.

positive degree - See degree.

possessive - A word indicating ownership.

possessive adjective - A possessive pronoun appearing before its object. The possessive adjectives are: my, our, your, his, her, its, their.

possessive case - The form of nouns and pronouns indicating possession or ownership.

possessive noun - A noun modified by adding -’s or - to indicate ownership.

possessive pronoun - The possessive pronouns replace a possessive noun or possessive adjective and its noun. The possessive pronouns are: mine, ours, yours, his, hers, its, theirs.

power words - Words that affect the emphasis and rhythm of a sentence, often affecting reader expectation.

predicate - One of the two principal parts of a sentence, the predicate includes the verb, its complements, and modifiers.

predicate adjective - An adjective or adjective clause separated from the subject of a sentence by a linking verb.

predicate nominative - A noun or pronoun following a linking verb to rename or identify the subject.

prefix - A letter or group of letters added to the beginning of a root word to modify its meaning.

preposition - A word beginning phrases that clarify relationships between other parts of speech within a sentence.

prepositional phrase - A set of words beginning with a preposition and ending with a noun or pronoun object.

present progressive tense - A verb phrase indicating current or planned actions. Phrases begin with the auxiliary verb is, am, or are. Present progressive phrases end with a main verb ending in -ing.

present participle - A verb form ending in -ing.

present perfect tense - A verb phrase describing an action started in the past and continuing. The verb phrase begins with has or had and concludes with a past participle.

present tense - A verb phrase occurring at this moment.

pronoun - A word replacing a noun or another pronoun.

proper noun - A noun with individual reference to a person, place, event, work of art or literature, or thing. Proper nouns are names. Capitalize all proper nouns.

prosody - The study of the rhythm and intonation of language, which are determined by pitch, stress (loudness), and juncture (pauses).

- Q -

qualifier - A word that intensifies an adjective or adverb.

question mark - A punctuation mark [?] ending a direct question.

quotation marks - Punctuation marks [“ ”] enclosing direction quotations, titles of short works, and words used for emphasis. Quotes are not tick marks [′ ″], which are used to indicate measurements. (Note: ticks might not appear properly in all Web browsers.)

- R -

reader expectation - An awareness by the writer of what the reader is expecting to read.

reciprocal pronoun - The pronouns each other and one another, which refer to previously named nouns.

redundancy - Unnecessary repetition.

referent - The thing, person, event, concept, action, etc., for which a word stands.

reflexive pronoun - A pronoun performing and receiving an action simultaneously. Singular forms end in -self and plural forms end in -selves.

I looked at myself in the mirror.

regular verb - A verb ending in -ed in its past tense conjugation and -s or -es in its singular form.

relative adverb - The adverbs where, when, and why, used to introduce adjectival clauses.

relative clause - A clause functioning an an adjective describing a preceding noun or pronoun.

relative pronoun - The word beginning a relative clause. Relative pronouns are: who, which, that, and whom.

restrictive modifier - A modifier in the noun phrase clarifying the meaning of the noun. The restrictive modifier is not set off by commas. See nonrestrictive modifiers.

restrictive relative clause - A clause providing essential information about the noun it relates to. Restrictive clauses are not offset by commas.

resumption modifier - A modifier at the end of the sentence that repeats and elaborates on a word from the main clause.

rhythm - The intonation contour of valleys and peaks in the spoken language, characterized by variations in stress, pitch, and juncture (pauses).

root word - Usually, a Greek or Latin word forming the basis for additional English words through the use of prefixes and suffixes. (See the document Greek and Latin Roots)

run-on sentence - Two poorly joined independent clauses; the clauses are often unrelated. Forms include the fused sentence and the comma-splice.

- S -

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I]
[J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R]
[S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]
[Page Top]

second person - A sentence describing the actions of the reader or listener. See person.

You read this example.

semantics - The study of the meaning of words and sentences.

semicolon - 1) A punctuation mark joining two independent clauses. 2) A punctuation mark used to separate items in a list when commas might be confusing.

sentence - A set of words expressing a complete thought.

sentence fragment - A set of words failing to express a complete thought.

sentence patterns - The simple sentences, composed of two, three, or four required elements, which underlie even the most complex sentences.

serial comma - A comma used before the conjunction in a series.

series - Three or more words, phrases, or clauses that acts as a unit.

simile - A comparison using like or as.

singular - A noun or verb referring to a single person, place, thing, or idea.

slang - Words or definitions not yet accepted as standard.

split infinitive - The placing of words between the word to and the verb portion of an infinitive.

stative - Any quality of nouns, verbs, and adjectives that is a relatively permanent state, as opposed to a changing condition.

structure class - The words that explain the grammatical or structural relationships of the form classes. The major ones are determiners, auxiliaries, qualifiers, prepositions, conjunctions, and expletives.

style - A writer’s manner of expression, indicated by word choice, sentence length and complexity, figurative language, tone, and other sentence features. Every writer has a style.

subject - The topic of a clause or sentence.

subject complement - The nominal or adjectival that follows a linking verb, renaming or describing the subject. In the passive voice, the transitive sentence with an object complement will have a subject complement.

subject pronoun - A word that replaces a noun as the subject of a verb.

subject-verb agreement - Matching singular subjects with singular verbs or plural subjects with plural verbs. Often you can apply the “moving s” rule.

The cats walk gracefully.

The cat walks gracefully.

subjective case - The role in the sentence of a noun phrase or a pronoun when it functions as the subject of the sentence. Personal pronouns have distinctive inflected forms for subjective case. I, he, she, they, etc.

subjunctive mood - An expression in which the base form of a verb is used, rather than the inflected form. 1) Found in certain that clauses conveying strong suggestions, resolutions, or commands. 2) Used in the expression of wishes or conditions contrary to fact.

subordinate clause - See dependent clause.

subordinating conjunction - A word joining two clauses and making one clause seem less important. The second clause is independent and completes the meaning of the dependent clause.

subordinator - A conjunction that turns a sentence into a dependant clause. See subordinating conjunction.

suffix - A letter or letters added to the end of a root word to modify its meaning.

summative modifier - A modifier, usually noun phrase, at the end of the sentence that sums up the idea of the main clause.

superlative form - An adjective or adverb form ending in -est or preceded by most. Superlatives indicate one of three or more things is superior to the others.

syntax - The way in which words are put together to form the structural units of sentences.

syllable - A grouping or one or more letters containing a single vowel sound.

synonym - A word meaning the same as another word in the same context.

- T -

tense - A reference to time, especially as indicated by a verb form.

there transformation - A variation of a basic sentence in which there is added to the beginning and the subject is shifted to a position following be.

A fly is in my soup.

There is a fly in my soup.

third person - See person.

tick marks - Punctuation marks [′ ″ ] used to indicate measurements. Example: He was 5′8″ tall. (Note: ticks might not appear properly in all Web browsers.)

tone - The writer’s attitude: serious, formal, sarcastic, casual, etc.

transitional word - A word explaining how or in what manner ideas relate.

transitive verb - A verb requiring at least a direct object to be complete. With a few exceptions, transitive verbs can be transformed into the passive voice.

- U -

uncountable nouns - Things or concepts that defy classification as singular or plural. Examples include: air, water, and fire.

- V -

verb - A word indicating action or used to introduce a description.

verbal - Using a verb as another part of speech.

verb phrase - Two or more words beginning with an auxiliary verb and ending with a main verb indicating an action or attention.

vernacular - Using regional terms and phrases in a text or dialogue.

vocative [case] - A form of a word or sentence indicating that somebody or something is being directly addressed by the speaker. Also known as direct address.

voice - The relationship of the subject to the verb. If the subject is “doing” something, then the structure is in active voice. If the subject is receiving an action, the sentence is in passive voice.

vowel - A basic sound in English speech; every word contains at least one vowel sound. The English vowels are a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y.

- W -

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I]
[J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R]
[S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]
[Page Top]

what-cleft - A cleft sentence formed using what. See cleft sentence.

- X -

- Y -

- Z -


Note: Additional research by K. Watrous (2004).

Sources

Barnet, Sylvan, Pat Bellanca, and Marcia Stubbs. A Short Guide to College Writing. Penguin academics. 2nd ed. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2005. (ISBN: 0321224698)

Christ, Henry I. Modern English in Action, Ten. Boston: D. C. Heath and Co, 1965.

Ellsworth, Blanche and John A. Higgens. English Simplified. 10th ed. New York: Pearson Education, 2004. (ISBN: 0321104293)

Hacker, Diana. The Bedford Handbook. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford, 1998. (ISBN: 0312247567)

Hacker, Diana. Pocket Style Manual. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford, 2004. (ISBN: 0312406843)

Kolln, Martha. Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects. 4th ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2003.

Meyers, Alan. Writing With Confidence: Writing Effective Sentences and Paragraphs. 6th ed. New York: Longman, 2000. (ISBN: 0321038010, 0321044460)

Mulvey, Dan. Grammar the Easy Way. Hauppauge, N.Y: Barron's, 2002. (ISBN: 0764119893)

Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing. 4th ed., brief. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2006. (ISBN: 0321291514)

Rozakis, Laurie E. Grammar and Style. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to. New York: Simon & Schuster, Alpha Books, 1997. (ISBN: 0028619560)

Scholastic Writer’s Desk Reference. New York: Scholastic, 2000. (ISBN: 0439216508)

Shertzer, Margaret. The Elements of Grammar. New York: MacMillian Publishing, 1986. (ISBN: 0020154402)

Strunk, William and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. 3rd ed. New York: MacMillan Publishing, 1959. Reprint 1979. (ISBN: 0024182001)



Free Shipping on orders of $25 or more at BarnesandNoble.com

 





Sites Linked to Here…



Writer: C. S. Wyatt
Updated: 27-May-2014
Editor: S. D. Schnelbach