| Here are some terms that you should know. These should help you learn what you need to learn more easily and quickly. I'm not big on memorization, so don't if that's not your thing. But please review and refer to this often!
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Appositive / apposition: Noun, noun phrase or series of nouns
placed next to another word or phrase to identify or rename it.
Example: My dog, Sparky, liked to chase birds. (“Sparky” renames “My dog.”)
And (two appositions in the same
sentence): My dog, Sparky, got her name because she once lived in the building next door, a fire station. (“Sparky” renames “our
dog,” and “a fire station,” renames the building next door.)
Auxiliary verbs: Also known as “helping verbs.”
Example: He may be going to the dance. The children had been swimming. Here are some of the words (and their
various forms) you’ll often see as helping verbs: be, have, do, may,
might, must, should, will.
Clause: A group of words that contains a
subject and at least one verb
Conjunctions: Words that connect words, phrases, clauses and sentences.
Conjunctive adverb: An adverb connecting clauses or
sentence, often after a semicolon. They include the following words: therefore, however, moreover, nevertheless, hence, consequently, thus (never thusly). A complete list can be found here.
Coordinating conjunction: A word that connects two sentence
elements of equal rank. To remember,
use this device: FANBOYS – for, and, nor (see “correlative
conjunction” immediately below), but, or, yet, so.
Correlative conjunction: Same as “coordinating conjunction,”
but the words travel in pairs: either…or; neither…nor; both…and; not…but;
not…nor; not only…but (also); whether…or.
Direct object: The recipient of the action of a transitive verb to
complete the meaning. Usually answers the question “what?” or “who/whom?”:
Examples: She sang a song. (She sang what? A song. So “song” is the direct
object of the verb.)
He loves her. (He loves whom? Her. So “her” is the direct object of the verb.)
Gerund: A word made from a verb
that acts as a noun or adjective and ends in –ing.
Indirect object: A word that follows a verb and tells
to or for whom something is done. Example: She brought me a sandwich. (She brought a sandwich to me; “me” is the indirect object.)
Intransitive verb: A verb that DOES NOT take a direct
object. (Be careful: Some of the
same words, such as with “sang,” can be either transitive or intransitive.
See “transitive verb” below.)
Example: She sang. (You’re
just simply saying that she broke into song at some point, but you’re not
saying what, specifically, she sang. So, it's intransitive.)
Linking verb: A verb that links to a noun or adjective. Essentially,
it is an equal sign, with the word that follows a linking verb modifying
the noun (or noun phrase) that comes before the linking verb.
Example: The car is well-built.
Car = well-built.
And: She was wonderful. She = wonderful.
And, as an answer to the question
of “How are you feeling”:
good. I = good. (It is NOT “I feel well.” The word “good” is an adjective, modifying
the pronoun “I.” The sentence does NOT and can NOT take an adverb, which “well” is — because adverbs modify verbs, and
linking verbs NEVER take a modifying adverb.).
Participle: A word made from a verb
acting as a noun and used as an adjective that usually ends in -ing or -ed (though there are exceptions, which are detailed in your text under Past Participle (p. 93 and pp. 28 and 41.)
Present participle: Running as fast as he could, the older man couldn’t keep up
with his much speedier grandson.
Past participle: Suspected of arson, he tossed the matches into the trash
before the police arrived.
An exception: Stricken with fear, he couldn't move an inch.
Parts of speech: There are eight parts of speech, and
you should be able to identify them easily by the end of the semester. Remember,
every word is a part of speech, but many, many words play many, many roles.
In other words, one word can be a different part of speech depending on how
it’s used – depending on its place in a phrase, clause or sentence.
It’s something we’ll discuss a lot. That said, here are the eight parts of
Noun: A word used to name a person, place, thing, state of being, a
quality or an action (as in “Fishing is fun.” Fishing means “the act of fishing.”)
Pronoun: A word used instead of a noun as with you, me, she, it, they, etc.
Verb: A word or group of words that typically express action, a state, or a relation between two things.
Adjective: A word that modifies a noun.
Adverb: A word that can modify virtually
everything – verbs, adverbs, adjectives, phases, sentences –
EXCEPT a noun.
Preposition: A word that indicates a location in
space or time, and it links a noun or pronoun to another word in a
sentence. Prepositional phrases can be either an “adjective” (adjectival),
connecting to a noun or pronoun, or an “adverb” (adverbial), connecting to
a word other than a noun.
Conjunction: A word that connect words,
sentences, clauses and phrases.
Interjection: Wow, I bet you know what an interjection is.
(“Wow” is an interjection, as would be this: “Ouch! Learning all this
grammar hurts.”“Ouch,” obviously, is the interjection.)
Phrase: Not a clause. Does not have a
subject AND a verb.
Predicate: A group of words that comes after the subject to complete the
meaning of a sentence or clause.
Subjunctive: The mood of a verb expressing a wish or condition contrary to fact, such as this sentence from a Midol ad: Once a month, I wish I were a guy. For a more detailed explanation and examples, go to Subjunctive Mood.
A word or words that connect two unequal parts of a sentence; in other words, word or words that attach a subordinate clause to a main clause. For a complete list, click here. They include after, although, because, even though and a slew of others. Do not confuse subordinating conjunctions with coordinating conjunctions, which connect two equal parts of a sentence.
Example: The driveway was wet because it had rained.
Main clause: The driveway was wet
Subordinate clause: because it had rained.
Note: because is the subordinating conjunction and is part of the subordinate clause.
Note: Do not confuse subordinae conjunctions with a coordinating conjunctions, which connect two equal parts of a sentence.
Transitive verb: A verb that MUST TAKE a direct
Example: She sang a song. (Here, unlike the
example for “intransitive verb,” you are telling us specifically what she
sang: a song.
And: She sang “We Are the Champions.” (Here, you are telling us specifically which song
she sang, so “We are the Champions” is the direct object, which is
required of a transitive verb.)
Verbal: A word made from a verb but functioning as a noun, adjective or adverb.
Example: Running is fun.
(Running —really, the “act of running”— is a verb word working as a noun and the subject of the sentence.)
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|Note: I offer my
thanks, especially to Phillip Gucker, the author
of our text, and a number of good Web sites on the topic, particularly Grammar Girl and grammar.about.com. Thanks, too, to Profs. Chuck Marsh and Lisa McLendon, as well as many others, including students, who care about good word use. I
recommend that you become acquainted with other
online and printed resources you might find. And feel free to pass long to
me any sites or resources you stumble upon.
Updated Jan. 30, 2013