Grammar

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Terms in this set (...)

noun
A noun is a word that denotes a person, place, or thing. In a sentence, nouns answer the questions who and what.

Example: The DOG ran after the BALL.
pronoun
A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun in a sentence.

Example: She decided to go to a movie.

In the sentence above, she is the pronoun. Like nouns, pronouns may be used either as subjects or as objects in a sentence.
articles
Articles include a, an, and the. They precede a noun or a noun phrase in a sentence.

Example 1: They wanted a house with a big porch.

Example 2: He bought the blue sweater on sale.

In example 1, the article a precedes the noun house, and a also precedes the noun phrase big porch, which consists of an adjective (big) and the noun it describes (porch).

In example 2, the article the precedes the noun phrase blue sweater, in which sweater is the noun and blue, the adjective.
adjective
An adjective is a word that modifies, or describes, a noun or pronoun. Adjectives may precede nouns, or they may appear after a form of the reflexive verb to be (am, are, is, was, etc.).

Example 1: We live in the red brick house.
Example 2: She is tall for her age.
In example 1, two consecutive adjectives, red and brick, both describe the noun house. In example 2, the adjective tall appears after the reflexive verb is and describes the subject, she.
verb
A verb is a word that denotes action, or a state of being, in a sentence.

Example 1: Beth rides the bus every day.
Example 2: Paul was an avid reader.
In example 1, rides is the verb; it describes what the subject, Beth, does. In example 2, was describes Paul's state of being and is therefore the verb.

There may be multiple verbs in a sentence, or there may be a verb phrase consisting of a verb plus a helping verb.

Example 1: She turned the key and opened the door.
Example 2: Jackson was studying when I saw him last.
In example 1, the subject she performs two actions in the sentence, turned and opened. In example 2, the verb phrase is was studying.
adverb
Just as adjectives modify nouns, adverbs modify, or further describe, verbs. Adverbs may also modify adjectives. (Many, though not all, adverbs end in -ly.)

Example 1: He waved wildly to get her attention.
Example 2: The shirt he wore to the party was extremely bright.
In the first example, the adverb wildly modifies the verb waved. In the second example, the adverb extremely modifies the adjective bright, which describes the noun shirt. While nouns answer the questions who and what, adverbs answer the questions how, when, why, and where.
conjunction
A conjunction is a word that joins two independent clauses, or sentences, together.

Example 1: Ellen wanted to take a drive into the city, but the cost of gasoline was too high.
Example 2: Richard planned to study abroad in Japan, so he decided to learn the language.
In the examples above, both but and so are conjunctions. They join two complete sentences with the help of a comma. And, but, for, or, nor, so, and yet can all act as conjunctions.
preposition
Prepositions work in combination with a noun or pronoun to create phrases that modify verbs, nouns/pronouns, or adjectives. Prepositional phrases convey a spatial, temporal, or directional meaning.

Example 1: Ivy climbed up the brick wall of the house.
There are two prepositional phrases in the example above: up the brick wall and of the house. The first prepositional phrase is an adverbial phrase, since it modifies the verb by describing where the ivy climbed. The second phrase further modifies the noun wall (the object of the first prepositional phrase) and describes which wall the ivy climbs.
gerund
A gerund is a verbal that ends in -ing and functions as a noun. The term verbal indicates that a gerund, like the other two kinds of verbals, is based on a verb and therefore expresses action or a state of being. However, since a gerund functions as a noun, it occupies some positions in a sentence that a noun ordinarily would, for example: subject, direct object, subject complement, and object of preposition.

Gerund as subject:

Traveling might satisfy your desire for new experiences. (Traveling is the gerund.)
The study abroad program might satisfy your desire for new experiences. (The gerund has been removed.)
dangling modifier
A dangling modifier is a word or phrase that modifies a word not clearly stated in the sentence. A modifier describes, clarifies, or gives more detail about a concept.

Having finished the assignment, Jill turned on the TV.
"Having finished" states an action but does not name the doer of that action. In English sentences, the doer must be the subject of the main clause that follows. In this sentence, it is Jill. She seems logically to be the one doing the action ("having finished"), and this sentence therefore does not have a dangling modifier.

The following sentence has an incorrect usage:

Having finished the assignment, the TV was turned on.
participle
A participle is a verbal that is used as an adjective and most often ends in -ing or -ed. The term verbal indicates that a participle, like the other two kinds of verbals, is based on a verb and therefore expresses action or a state of being. However, since they function as adjectives, participles modify nouns or pronouns. There are two types of participles: present participles and past participles. Present participles end in -ing. Past participles end in -ed, -en, -d, -t, -n, or -ne as in the words asked, eaten, saved, dealt, seen, and gone.

The crying baby had a wet diaper.
Shaken, he walked away from the wrecked car.
The burning log fell off the fire.
Smiling, she hugged the panting dog.
infinitive
An infinitive is a verbal consisting of the word to plus a verb (in its simplest "stem" form) and functioning as a noun, adjective, or adverb. The term verbal indicates that an infinitive, like the other two kinds of verbals, is based on a verb and therefore expresses action or a state of being. However, the infinitive may function as a subject, direct object, subject complement, adjective, or adverb in a sentence. Although an infinitive is easy to locate because of the to + verb form, deciding what function it has in a sentence can sometimes be confusing.

To wait seemed foolish when decisive action was required. (subject)
Everyone wanted to go. (direct object)
His ambition is to fly. (subject complement)
He lacked the strength to resist. (adjective)
We must study to learn. (adverb)
Be sure not to confuse an infinitive—a verbal consisting of to plus a verb—with a prepositional phrase beginning with to, which consists of to plus a noun or pronoun and any modifiers.

Infinitives: to fly, to draw, to become, to enter, to stand, to catch, to belong
Prepositional Phrases: to him, to the committee, to my house, to the mountains, to us, to this address
object
An object is the part of a sentence that gives meaning to the subject's action of the verb. For example: Alice caught the baseball. Subject=Alice Verb=caught Object=baseball
direct object
A direct object answers the question of who(m) or what. In the sentence above, you could determine that 'baseball' is a direct object by asking the question: What did Alice catch? She caught the baseball. Baseball is the direct object.
indirect object
An indirect object answers the question of to whom, for whom, or for what. For example: Max pitched Alice the baseball.

Max (subject) pitched (verb) the baseball (direct object) to whom? He pitched it to Alice. Alice is the indirect object.
predicate
The predicate of a sentence is the part that modifies the subject in some way. Because the subject is the person, place, or thing that a sentence is about, the predicate must contain a verb explaining what the subject does and can also include a modifier.
predicate nominative
A predicate nominative follows a linking verb and tells us what the subject is:

Dr. Couchworthy is acting president of the university.
She used to be the tallest girl on the team.
transitive verb
Transitive verbs are not just verbs that can take an object; they demand objects. Without an object to affect, the sentence that a transitive verb inhabits will not seem complete.

Please bring coffee.
In this sentence, the verb bring is transitive; its object is coffee, the thing that is being brought. Without an object of some kind, this verb cannot function.

Please bring.
intransitive verb
An intransitive verb is the opposite of a transitive verb: it does not require an object to act upon.

They jumped.
The dog ran.

She sang.

A light was shining.

None of these verbs require an object for the sentence to make sense, and all of them can end a sentence. Some imperative forms of verbs can even make comprehensible one-word sentences.

Run!
Sing!
helping verb
Helping verbs or auxiliary verbs such as will, shall, may, might, can, could, must, ought to, should, would, used to, need are used in conjunction with main verbs to express shades of time and mood. The combination of helping verbs with main verbs creates what are called verb phrases or verb strings. In the following sentence, "will have been" are helping or auxiliary verbs and "studying" is the main verb; the whole verb string is underlined:
linking verb
Linking verbs are verbs that serve as a connection between a subject and further information about that subject. They do not show any action; rather, they "link" the subject with the rest of the sentence. The verb to be is the most common linking verb, but there are many others, including all the sense verbs.

A handful—a very frequently used handful—of verbs are always linking verbs:

all forms of to be (am, is, are, was, were, has been, are being, might be, etc.)
to become
to seem
These verbs always link subjects to something that further describes the subject of the sentence.

She IS a nurse.
The moon IS in outer space.
I HAVE become weary of your methodical approach to waltzing.
The Dalai Lama SEEMS like a nice guy.
object complement
An objective complement can be a noun or an adjective which follows the direct object renaming or modifying it. It is used with verbs like make, name, call, choose, elect, and appoint. It is not set off with commas as an appositive is. Example: I call my dog Badger.
subject complement
A subject complement is a word or phrase that follows a linking verb and describes or identifies the subject. (Note: A linking verb is a verb used to link a subject to the new identity or description. Common examples are to be, to become, to appear, to feel, to look, to smell, and to taste.)

"The box is a present." The box = subject; is=linking verb; a present = subject complement
predicate noun
a noun that follows a linking verb and defines or renames the subject

Wind turbines are a renewable source of power.
predicate pronoun
a pronoun that follows a linking verb and renames the subject

Mary ran for the board and won; we were so happy for her.
In this example, the word ''her'' is the predicate pronoun.

We loved the convertible so we will buy it.
In this sentence, the word ''it'' is the predicate pronoun.
predicate adjective
An adjective that follows a linking verb and describes the subject

Children grow OLDER every day.
The baby remains HAPPY during her bath.
adverb
Not all adverbs are formed from adjectives. Some common ones are never, not, here, there, then, when, where, always, too, now, and very. Remember that adverbs tell us how, when, where, why, and how much and modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. i.e. always, never