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Basic Grammar Glossary


1.1 NOUN

A word giving name to a thing, person or idea, e.g. door, mechanic, love.

Depending on a language, nouns have:

  • number (singular/plural)
  • gender (masculine/feminine/neuter)
  • cases (nominative/genitive/dative/accusative/locative/vocative etc)

Possessive nouns: Nouns that describe owner of something or, in other words, a noun that has something. E.g. Mike's car, car's engine
Proper nouns: Nouns that are a name of a specific person, place or thing. E.g. Mary, Germany, Islam
Common nouns: All other nouns giving general names to people, places or things. E.g. girl, country, religion
Concrete nouns: Nouns describing things we can see, touch, or smell. E.g. stone, chair, vanilla
Abstract nouns: Nouns describing things we cannot see, touch or smell (ideas etc). E.g. love, friendship, childhood
Countable nouns: Nouns that take plural forms, nouns that can be counted. E.g. chair, car, child
Uncountable nouns: Nouns that don't take plural forms, nouns that can't be counted. E.g. love, water, air

1.2 VERB

A word describing an action or a state, e.g. run, learn, lie, be

Depending on a language, verbs have:

  • tense (past/present/future)
  • aspect (perfective/imperfective/simple/continuous)
  • mood (optative/conditional/imperative etc)
  • voice (active/passive)

Dynamic verbs: Most verbs, they describe an action (kill, find)
Stative verbs: Don't usually take the continuous form (-ing ending). Typically they denote emotions (love, hate), abstract ideas (want, need) or possession (have, own)
Auxiliary verbs: Verbs (be, have, do) that have little meaning but have their functions like creating questions (Do you like coffee?) or tenses (He has been unconscious for three days)
Modal verbs: Specific verbs (can, could, may, might, shall, should, ought to, must, that express necessity, obligation, possibility, certainty or lack of thereof.


A word able to replace a NOUN or another pronoun in a sentence

Subject personal pronouns: (I, you, he, she etc) - Replace subject in a sentence
Possessive pronouns: (mine, yours, his, hers etc)
Object personal pronouns: (me, you, him, her, etc) - Replace object in a sentence
Demonstrative pronouns: (this, that, these, those)
Interrogative pronouns: (why, what, where, when, etc) - Those words that open a question
Relative pronouns: (who, which, that, whose, etc) - Words that link two sentences
Indefinite pronouns: (many, some, any, all, etc) - Those that describe an indefinite number of something
Reflexive pronouns: (myself, yourself, himself, ourselves, etc) - We use them if subject and object of a sentence are the same, or, in other words, if subject performs an action on himself/herself. E.g. I washed myself . He hurt himself.


A word giving extra information about a NOUN or PRONOUN. E.g. old hut, silly me

Possessive adjectives: (my, your, his, her etc) - Used before a NOUN describe who it belongs to
Comparative adjectives: (older, bigger) - Used to compare qualities of two things
Superlative adjectives: (oldest, biggest) - Used to compare qualities of more than two things


A word modifying an ADJECTIVE or a VERB.

Adverbs of manner: State how something is done, e.g. She types quickly.
Adverbs of time: State when something happens, e.g. See you tomorrow.
Adverbs of frequency: State how often something happens, e.g. We meet twice a month.
Adverbs of degree: State how much of something is done, e.g. I like him a lot.
Adverbs of place: State where something is, e.g. It's here.

There are many other adverbs that give us extra information in a sentence, e.g. comments (fortunately, alas, etc) or join ideas (although, even though, however, thus, etc)


A word that tells us where something is in relation to another object. E.g. on the table, under the bed


A word that links words, phrases or clauses, e.g. and, or, so



A NOUN, PRONOUN or NOMINAL PHRASE that give information who or what the sentence is about, in active voice it is the doer of the action described by the verb. In English it is usually before the verb.

John has ironed all his shirts. John is a proper noun, doer of action, hence the subject.
He has ironed all his shirts. He is a pronoun, doer of action, hence the subject.
The person I live with has ironed all his shirts. The person I live with is a nominal phrase, the doer of action, hence the subject
All shirts have been ironed by John. Although, logically, John has ironed the shirts, passive voice reverses subject/object relations so it is All shirts that function as subject in this sentence.


A NOUN, PRONOUN or NOMINAL PHRASE that completes the verb. In English it goes after the verb. In other words, it is the noun (pronoun or noun phrase) in a sentence that is not a subject.

I like coffee.
I like it.
I like that dark drink with caffeine.

Direct: Answers whom or what is the recipient of the action described by the verb.
E.g. I gave her flowers. (What did I give to her?)
Indirect: The other object that is the recipient of the direct object
E.g. I gave her flowers. (Who got flowers).

Although it seems confusing at first, we may say that indirect object can be preceded by a preposition after some modifications, e.g. I gave flowers to her. If you cannot separate an object from the verb by means of preposition, it must be a direct object. If a verb has just one object, it must be direct. Some verbs don't take any objects at all, á e.g. He jumps high.

2.3 VERB

A word describing action or state of a subject.

Transitive: Take OBJECTS. E.g. She sells shoes. They can be used in Passive Voice, e.g. Shoes are sold by her.
Intransitive: Don't take objects. E.g. He died yesterday. They can't be used in Passive Voice.
Linking verbs: Don't describe an action but link subject and object. The most typical are verbs be, become, seem. E.g. He is nice. (Nice is a quality of the subject, not an object of the verb).



Infinitive without the participle to. Its form doesn't indicate tense, aspect or mood. E.g. swim, be, dance. All endings are added to this form of verb.


A sound that is not a vowel. Consonants can be divided into different groups depending on the place and manner of their articulation as well as other features involved into pronouncing them.
/B/ is plosive, bilabial and voiced;
/P/ is plosive, bilabial and voiceless;
/M/ is nasal, bilabial and voiced;
/N/ is nasal, bilabial and voiceless.


Rule that defines which consonants may follow given consonants. E.g. voiceless /k/ can be followed only by voiceless consonants like /t/


Verb with the -ing ending that functions as a noun. E.g. Swimming is healthy. (subject); I love dancing. (object)


Basic form of a verb usually preceded by the participle to. E.g. to swim, to be, á to dance


Verb forms that have two types:
Present Participle: Identical to gerund (verb with -ing ending) but it doesn't function as a noun.
- Forms progressive (continuous) aspect, e.g. They are dancing.
- Modifies nouns, e.g. We saw a dancing dog.
- Modifies verbs, e.g. He stopped, knowing nobody was listening to him anyway.
Past Participle: Regular verb with -ed ending or 3rd form of irregular verbs, e.g. cooked, swum, forgotten.
- Forms the perfect aspect, e.g. I have never danced.
- Forms the Passive Voice, e.g. Everything was lost.
- Modifies nouns, e.g. He soon forgot about the lost keys.
- Modifies verbs, e.g. Questioned like that, he decided not to reply.


A sound pronounced without any obstruction in the vocal tract. English vowels are: /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/ ,/u/.


Rule that defines which vowels can follow given vowels. E. g. "dotted" vowels can only be followed by vowels from the same group.

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