Till innehåll på sidan

Grammatical terminology

Grammatical term Definition Examples

adjective

a word which describes a noun

  • a new technology
  • this application is promising

adverb

a word which adds information to a verb, an adjective,or another adverb

  • walk quickly
  • a very serious problem
  • apply the solution very carefully

article

the words ‘a/an’ and ‘the’, used with nouns

  • a bridge
  • the bridge

clause

a structure containing a verb, forming a sentence, or joining with other clauses to form sentences

(each separate clause is numbered in the examples provided)

  • [1] This report addresses structural concerns.
  • [1] They could not attend the clinic [2] because there was no public transport.
  • [1] Founded in 1950, [2] the Society of Women Engineers is the world’s largest advocate for women in engineering and technology.

conjunction

a word or phrase that joins words, phrases or clauses

  • food and water
  • They could not attend the clinic because there was no public transport.
  • If the problem persists, a new course of action may be required.

contraction

When two words are joined using an apostrophe

  • he’s in room 5
  • it’s 4pm

countable noun

a noun which can be counted and so can be used in the plural

NB: This is often about how a noun is interpreted in a particular context, rather than an absolute concept. Many words can be either countable or uncountable, depending on the context, e.g.:

research into cancer

many cancers can be treated with chemotherapy

  • an engineer, a phenomenon
  • engineers, phenomena

main clause

the clause containing the main idea in a sentence. In the examples provided, the main clause is in bold, and any subordinate clauses are in ordinary font.

  • This report addresses structural concerns.
  • They could not attend the clinic because there was no public transport.
  • Founded in 1950, the Society of Women Engineers is the world’s largest advocate for women in engineering and technology.
noun A word which denotes a person, place, thing or concept
  • engineer, university, Palo Alto, device, sustainability

noun phrase

A phrase which denotes a person, place, thing or concept

  • many universities in South America
  • a fully electrified public transport fleet

participle clause

a subordinate clause with an -ing or -ed verb form adding information to the main clause. Note that the participle clause cannot stand separately as its own sentence: *using mixed methods research.

  • Founded in 1950, the Society of Women Engineers is the world’s largest advocate for women in engineering and technology.
  • The study investigated the effects of chronic illness on families, using mixed methods research.

plural

the form of a noun that refers to more than one, usually ending in ‘s’ in English

  • engineers, computers, applications (regular plurals)
  • women, children, criteria (irregular plurals)

possessive

a word or phrase which denotes belonging

  • her decision
  • Professor Brown’s decision
  • the decision is hers to make

pronoun

a word which replaces a noun, and which is often used to refer back to a noun earlier in the text

  • it, its, they, their, his, her, we, our, which

proper noun

a noun written with a capital letter, as it is the name of e.g. a person, place, company  

  • Fatima, Uppsala, Pfizer

sentence

a group of words usually beginning with a capital letter and ending in a full stop, and containing a subject and a verb

  • This report addresses structural concerns.
  • If the problem persists, a new course of action may be required.

singular

the form of a noun that refers to one of something

the form of the verb used with singular or non-countable nouns, or with ing-forms

  • an engineer
  • the lecturer
  • The combination has been criticised.
  • Water boils at 100 oC.
  • Solving this problem is important.

subject

the person or thing which the verb relates to and agrees with in number

  • This report addresses structural concerns.
  • Students are advised to make an appointment with their academic advisor.

that-clause

a clause that follows certain verbs or adjectives

  • The study suggests that this is a promising application.
  • Are they aware that this will cost significantly more?

to-infinitive clause

a clause with to + the base form of the verb adding information to the main clause; sometimes preceded by in order or so as

  • The project was monitored to ensure that safety protocols were implemented.
  • In order to increase efficiency, several tasks were automated.

uncountable noun

(also non-countable noun)

a noun seen as a mass which cannot be split or counted, and so cannot be plural

NB: This is often about how a noun is interpreted in a particular context, rather than an absolute concept. Many words can be countable or uncountable depending on the context, e.g.:

research into cancer

many cancers can be treated with chemotherapy

  • engineering, energy, sugar

quantifier

a word or phrase which denotes ‘how much’ of a noun

  • few people
  • a large amount of money
verb a word expressing an action or state
  • be, have, go, eat, apply, solve

verb phrase

a phrase expressing an action or state

  • Students are advised to make an appointment with their academic advisor.
  • The study suggests that this is a promising application.