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Grammar Glossary 语法词汇大全

This glossary provides definitions and discussions of grammatical and grammar-related terms. Examples are enclosed in angle brackets.

abbreviation   A shortened form of a written word or phrase used in place of the whole (such as amt. for amount, or c/o for care of). See also acronym.
absolute adjective   An adjective that normally cannot be used comparatively <the maximum dose>.

Many absolute adjectives can be modified by adverbs such as almost or near <an almost fatal dose> <at near maximum capacity>. Many adjectives considered to be absolute are in fact often preceded by comparative adverbs <a more perfect union> <a less complete account>. In such cases, more means "more nearly" and less "less nearly."

acronym (initialism)   A word or abbreviation formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the major parts of a compound term, whether or not it is pronounceable as a word (such as TQM for Total Quality Management, or UNPROFOR for United Nations Protection Force).
active voice   A verb form indicating that the subject of a sentence is performing the action <He respects the other scientists> <A bird was singing> <Interest rates rose>; compare passive voice.
adjective   A word that describes or modifies a noun <an active mind> <This is serious> <careful in choosing her courses>.

An adjective can follow a noun as a complement <The book made the bag heavy>. It can also modify noun phrases <the largest of the cars that were on sale> and noun clauses <It seemed incomprehensible that one senator could be so powerful>.

An indefinite adjective designates unidentified persons or things <some children> <other hotels>.

An interrogative adjective is used in asking questions <Whose book is this?> <Which color looks best?>.

A possessive adjective is the possessive form of a personal pronoun <her idea> <its second floor>.

A relative adjective (which, that, who, whom, whose, where) introduces an adjectival clause or a clause that functions as a noun <in April, by which time the report should be finished> <not knowing whose house this was>.

Adjectives used together can be described as coordinate adjectives when they share equal relationships to the nouns they modify <a concise, coherent essay> <a soft, flickering, blue light>, and as noncoordinate adjectives when the first of two adjectives modifies the second adjective and the noun together <a low monthly fee> <the first warm day>. See also absolute adjective; attributive; demonstrative adjective; predicate adjective.

adverb   A word that modifies a verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, phrase, clause, or sentence.

Adverbs usually indicate time, place, or manner <Do it now> <There they remained> <she went willingly>. They can connect statements <A small bomb had been found; nevertheless, they were continuing their search> and can tell the reader what the writer thinks about what is being said <Luckily I got there on time>. They can modify verbs <ran fast>, adjectives <an awfully long speech>, participles <a well-acted play>, adverbs <sleeps fairly well>, particles <woke right up>, indefinite pronouns <almost everyone>, cardinal numbers <over 200 guests>, and prepositional phrases <just out of reach>. Occasionally they modify a preceding noun <the great city beyond>, and some adverbs of place and time can serve as the objects of prepositions <Since when has your hair been blond?> <Before long there was a knock at the door>. See also auxiliary verb; sentence adverb; split infinitive.

agreement   A grammatical relationship that involves the correspondence in number either between the subject and verb of a sentence or between a pronoun and its antecedent.

When a subject is composed of two or more singular nouns joined by and, the plural verb is usually used <the intelligence and originality that mark his writing>.

When singular nouns are joined by or, the singular verb is usually used <The average man or woman was not interested>. When the negative neither  . . .  nor is used with singular nouns, it usually takes a singular verb <Neither she nor anyone else is fond of the idea>. But when neither  . . .  nor is used with nouns of differing number, the noun closest to the verb usually determines its number <Neither he nor his colleagues were present> <Neither the teachers nor the principal was interested>. Similar rules apply to either  . . .  or.

Insertions set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses should not affect agreement <This book, like her earlier books, has sold in large numbers> <Their reputation—and along with it their income—has suffered>.

In constructions like "A bunch of the boys were throwing around a basketball" or "Only a fraction of the deposits are insured," the verb is usually plural. See also collective noun.

When an amount of money, a period of time, or some other plural noun phrase of quantity or measure forms the subject, a singular verb is used <Ten dollars is all I have left> <Two miles is as far as they can walk> <Two thirds of the area is under water>.

Singular nouns joined by or can use either a singular or a plural pronoun, whichever sounds best <either Fred or Marianne will give their presentation after lunch> <Each employee or supervisor should give what he or she can afford>.

The indefinite pronouns anybody, anyone, each, either, everybody, everyone, neither, nobody, none, no one, somebody, and someone are used with singular verbs <Everyone in the company was pleased> <Nobody is responsible>, but are commonly referred to by they, their, them, or themselves <Nobody could get the crowd's attention when they spoke> <Everybody there admits they saw it>.

antecedent   A word, phrase, or clause to which a subsequent pronoun refers <Judy wrote to say she is coming> <They saw Bob and called to him> <I hear that he's ill and it worries me>.
appositive   A word, phrase, or clause that is equivalent to an adjacent noun <a biography of the poet Robert Burns> <Sales of her famous novel, Gone with the Wind, reached one million copies in six months> <We teachers are never wrong>.

Restrictive and nonrestrictive appositives play different roles in a sentence and are traditionally distinguished by their punctuation. A nonrestrictive appositive <Their house, a white brick mansion, was two miles from town> is generally set off with commas. A restrictive appositive <He sent his daughter Cicely to college> uses no commas and indicates that one out of a group is being identified (in this case, one daughter from among two or more). See also nonrestrictive clause; restrictive clause.

article   One of three words (a, an, the) used with a noun to indicate definiteness <the blue car> or indefiniteness <a simple task> <an interesting explanation>.
attributive   A modifier that immediately precedes the word it modifies <black tie, U.S. government, kitchen sink, chicken salad>.

Nouns have functioned like adjectives in this position for many centuries. Even plural attributives such as physics laboratory, Civil Liberties Union, mathematics book, weapons system, communications technology, and singles bar are common.

auxiliary verb   A verb (such as be, have, can, do) that accompanies another verb and typically expresses person, number, mood, or tense <I am working> <They can see the movie tomorrow> <She has left already> <We didn't hear anything>. See also verb.
cardinal number   A number of the kind used in simple counting <one, 1, thirty-five, 35>; compare ordinal number.
case   In English, a form of a noun or pronoun indicating its grammatical relation to other words in a sentence. See nominative; objective; possessive. See also genitive.
clause   A group of words having its own subject and predicate but forming only part of a compound or complex sentence.

A main (or independent) clause could stand alone as a sentence <We'll leave as soon as the taxi arrives>. A subordinate (or dependent clause) requires a main clause <We'll leave as soon as the taxi arrives>.

An adjective clause modifies a noun or pronoun <the clown, who was also a horse trainer> <I can't see the reason why you're upset>. An adverb clause modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb <When it rains, it pours> <I'm certain that he is guilty> <We accomplished less than they did>. A noun clause can be a subject, object, or complement <Whoever is qualified should apply> <I don't know what his problem is> <The trouble is that she has no alternative>. See also sentence; subordinate clause.

collective noun   A singular noun that stands for a number of persons or things considered as a group (such as group, company, army).

Collective nouns have been used with both singular and plural verbs. When the group is considered as a unit, the singular verb is used <The government is prepared for a showdown> <His family is from New England> <The team has won most of its games>. When the group is thought of as a collection of individuals, the plural verb is sometimes used <Her family are all conservatives>. Singular verbs are more common in American English and plural verbs more common in British English. See also agreement; notional agreement.

A collective noun followed by of and a plural noun follows the same rule as collective nouns in general <A collection of rocks were laid out on the table> <A flock of birds were heard through the window> <This cluster of stars is the brightest>.

Writers should take care to match their pronouns and verbs: singular with singular <The committee is hopeful that it will succeed>, and plural with plural <The faculty are hoping to discuss their issues>.

The names of companies and other organizations are generally treated as singular <Harvard considers itself a great university>.

comma fault (comma splice, comma error)   The use of a comma instead of a semicolon to link two independent clauses (as in "I won't talk about myself, it's not a healthy topic"). Though fairly common in casual writing, comma splices are not seen in edited prose.
comparison   Modification of an adjective or adverb to show different levels of quality, quantity, or relation. The comparative form shows relation between two items, usually by adding -er or more or less <He's shorter than I am> <Her second book sold more quickly>. The superlative form expresses an extreme among three or more items, usually by adding -est or most or least <The cheetah is the fastest mammal> <That's the least important reason> <The most obviously illegal activity>. See also absolute adjective.
complement   A word or expression by which a predicate is made complete <They elected him president> <She thought it beautiful> <The critics called her the best act of her kind since Carmen Miranda>.
compound   A combination of words or word elements that work together in various ways <farmhouse; cost-effective; ex-husband; shoeless; figure out; in view of that; the real estate agent; greenish white powder; a carefully tended garden; great white shark>.

Compounds are written in one of three ways: solid <workplace>, hyphenated <screenwriter-director>, or open <health care>. The choice among these styles for a given compound represents one of the most common of all style issues. A dictionary will list many compounds, but will usually omit those whose meanings are obvious. New compounds can be patterned on similar compounds that do appear in dictionaries.

compound subject   Two or more nouns or pronouns usually joined by and that function as the subject of a clause or sentence <Doctors and lawyers have the highest incomes> <Peter, Karen, and I left together>. See also agreement; collective noun.
conjunction   A word or phrase that joins together words, phrases, clauses, or sentences.

Coordinating conjunctions (such as and, because, but, or, nor, since, so) join elements of equal importance, to show similarity <They came early and stayed late>, to exclude or contrast <a brilliant but arrogant man>, to offer alternatives <She can wait here or return later>, to propose reasons or grounds <The timetable is useless because it's out-of-date>, or to specify a result <His mother is ill, so he's not coming>.

Correlative conjunctions (such as either  . . .  or, neither  . . .  nor) are used in pairs and link alternatives or equal elements <Either you go or you stay> <The project will benefit neither residents nor visitors> <She showed not only understanding but also judgment>.

Subordinating conjunctions (such as unless, whether) join subordinate clauses to main clauses and are used to express cause <Because she learns quickly, she is an eager student>, condition <Don't call unless you're coming>, manner <It looks as though it's raining>, purpose <He gets up early so that he can exercise before work>, time <She kept a diary when she was a teenager>, place <I don't know where he went>, or possibility <They were undecided whether to go or stay>.

conjunctive adverb   A transitional adverb (such as also, however, therefore) that expresses the relationship between two independent clauses, sentences, or paragraphs.

Conjunctive adverbs are used to express addition <He enjoyed the movie; however, he had to leave before the end>, emphasis <She's brilliant; indeed, she's a genius>, contrast <That was unfortunate; nevertheless, they should have known the danger>, elaboration <They agreed on only one point: namely, that too much money had been spent already>, conclusion <The case could take years; as a result, many plaintiffs will accept settlements>, or priority <First combine the dry ingredients, then add the eggs and beat well>.

contact clause   A dependent clause attached to its antecedent without a relative pronoun such as that, which, or who <the key [that] you lost> <a remark [which] she made> <He isn't the person [who] we thought he was>.

The predicate noun clause not introduced by that is more common after some verbs (such as believe, hope, say, think) than others (such as assert, calculate, hold, intend).

contraction   A shortened form of a word or words in which an apostrophe usually replaces the omitted letter or letters (such as dep't, don't, could've, o'clock, we'll).

Contractions involving verbs used to be avoided, but today they are often recommended to help writers avoid sounding too formal.

count noun   A noun that identifies things that can be counted <two tickets> <a motive> <many people>; compare mass noun.
dangling modifier   A modifying phrase that lacks a normally expected grammatical relation to the rest of the sentence (as in "After years lying under the dust, he discovered the stack of old photographs").

The common participial phrase usually begins with a participle; in "Happening to meet them there, I invited them to sit with us," the subject, "I," is understood to be present in the preceding phrase, which modifies it. But a writer may accidentally let a participial phrase modify a subject or some other noun in the sentence it was not intended to modify; the result is a dangling participle. Thus in "Turning the corner, a large red building appeared," it is the building that may seem to be turning the corner.

Dangling participles are usually hardly noticeable except to someone looking for them. The important thing to avoid is creating an unintended humorous effect (as in "Opening up the cupboard, a cockroach ran for the corner").

dangling participle   See dangling modifier.
demonstrative adjective   One of four adjectives—this, that, these, and those—which points to what it modifies in order to distinguish it from others <this type of person> <that set of books> <these sorts of jobs> <those varieties of apples>; compare demonstrative pronoun.
demonstrative pronoun   One of four words—this, that, these, and those—that are classified as pronouns when they function as nouns <This is my desk; That is yours> <These are the best cakes in town> <Those are strong words>; compare demonstrative adjective.
direct object   A word, phrase, or clause denoting the goal or result of the action of the verb <he closed the valve> <They'll do whatever it takes> <"Do it now," he said>; compare indirect object.
direct question   A question quoted exactly as spoken, written, or imagined <The only question is, Will it work?>; compare indirect question.
direct quotation   Text quoted exactly as spoken or written <I heard her say, "I'll be there at two o'clock">; compare indirect quotation.
double genitive   A construction in which possession is marked both by the preposition of and a noun or pronoun in the possessive case.

In expressions like "that song of Ella Fitzgerald's" or "a good friend of ours," the possessive relationship is indicated by both of and the genitive inflection (Fitzgerald's, ours), even though only one or the other is strictly necessary. However, this construction is standard in all kinds of writing. See also genitive.

double negative   A clause or sentence containing two negatives and having a negative meaning.

Today the double negative (as in "They didn't have no children" or "I can't get no satisfaction") is associated with uneducated speech and is generally avoided.

gender   A characteristic of certain nouns and pronouns that indicates sex (masculine, feminine, neuter) <he, him, his, she, her, it, its; actor, actress; brother, sister; emperor, empress; heir, heiress; fiancé, fiancée>.
genitive   A form, or case, of a noun or pronoun that typically shows possession or source <the girl's sweater> <an uncle of mine> <some idea of theirs> <the company's failure> <a year's salary> <the nation's capital>.

The genitive is usually produced by adding -'s or a phrase beginning with of.

The genitive has other similar functions as well; these include the subjective <Frost's poetry>, objective <her son's graduation>, descriptive <women's colleges>, and appositive <the state of Massachusetts> <the office of president> genitives. See also double genitive; possessive.

gerund (verbal noun)   A verb form having the characteristics of both verb and noun and ending in -ing <The ice made skiing impossible>.

A gerund can be preceded by a possessive noun or pronoun <her husband's snoring>. See also possessive; possessive with gerund.

idiom   A common expression that is grammatically unusual <In 1998 the band hit it big> or that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words <He was a jack of all trades> <the newspaper had a field day>.
imperative   The form, or mood, of a verb that expresses a command or makes a request <come here> <please don't>; compare indicative; subjunctive.
indefinite pronoun   A pronoun (such as something, anyone, everybody) that designates an unidentified person or thing <Somebody ate my dessert> <She saw no one she knew>. See also agreement; notional agreement; pronoun.
indicative   The form, or mood, of a verb that states a fact or asks a question <The train stopped> <They'll be here soon> <Everyone is hungry> <Has the rain begun?> <Who knows?>; compare imperative; subjunctive.
indirect object   A grammatical object representing the secondary goal of the action of its verb <She gave the dog a bone>; compare direct object.
indirect question   A statement of the substance of a question without using the speaker's exact words or word order <The officer asked what the trouble was> <They wondered whether it would work>; compare direct question.
indirect quotation   A statement of the substance of a quotation without using the speaker's exact words <I heard her say she'd be there at two o'clock>; compare direct quotation.
infinitive   A verb form that may behave like both a verb and a noun and is usually used with to <We had to stop> <To err is human> <No one saw him leave>. See also split infinitive.
infinitive phrase   A phrase that includes an infinitive and its modifiers and complements <We expect them to arrive by five o'clock> <He shouted to be heard above the din> <To have earned a Ph.D. in two years was impressive>.
inflection   The change in form that words undergo to mark case, gender, number, tense, person, mood, voice, or comparison <he, his, him> <waiter, waitress> <rat, rats> <blame, blames, blamed, blaming> <who, whom> <She is careful, if she were careful, Be careful> <like, likes, is liked> <wild, wilder, wildest>. See also case; comparison; gender; mood; number; person; tense; voice.
initialism   See acronym.
intensifier   A linguistic element used to give emphasis or additional strength to another word or statement <a very hot day> <It's a complete lie> <What on earth is he doing?> <She herself did it>.
interjection   An exclamatory or interrupting word or phrase <Ouch!> <Oh no, not again!>.
interrogative pronoun   One of the pronouns what, which, who, whom, and whose, used to introduce direct and indirect questions <Who is she?> <He asked me who she was> <Which did they choose?> <I wondered which they chose>.

Who is often substituted for whom to introduce a question, even when it is the object of a preposition <Who are you going to listen to?> <Who do you work for?>.

intransitive verb   A verb not having a direct object <He ran away> <Our cat purrs when I stroke her>; compare transitive verb.
linking verb   A verb that links a subject with its predicate (such as is, feel, look, become, seem) <She is the new manager> <The future looked bright> <He has become depressed> <This tastes good> <It smells like roses>.
main clause   See clause.
mass noun   A noun that denotes a thing or concept without subdivisions <some money> <great courage> <the study of politics>; compare count noun.
modifier   A word or phrase that qualifies, limits, or restricts the meaning of another word or phrase. See adjective; adverb.
mood   The form of a verb that shows whether the action or state it denotes is conceived as a fact or something else (e.g., a command, possibility, or wish). See indicative; imperative; subjunctive.
nominative   A form, or case, of a noun or pronoun indicating its use as the subject of a verb <Three dogs trotted by the open door> <Later we ate dinner>; compare objective; possessive.
nonrestrictive clause (nonessential clause)   A subordinate or dependent clause, enclosed by commas, that could be omitted without changing the meaning of the main clause <His best friend, who lived down the street, came along for the ride>; compare restrictive clause. See also appositive.
noun   A word that can serve as the subject of a verb, can be singular or plural, can be replaced by a pronoun, and can refer to an entity, quality, state, action, or concept <boy, Churchill, America, river, commotion, poetry, anguish, Marxism>>.

Nouns are used as subjects <The artist painted street scenes>, direct objects <Critics praised the artist>, objects of prepositions <a painting signed by the artist>, indirect objects <The council gave the artist an award>, retained objects <An artist was given the award>, predicate nouns <Petra Smith is this year's award winner>, objective complements <They announced Petra Smith as this year's award winner>, and appositives <Petra Smith, this year's award winner>. See also collective noun; count noun; mass noun; proper noun.

noun phrase   A phrase formed by a noun and its modifiers <Two cats sat sunning themselves> <He described all the car's best features>.
number   A characteristic of a noun, pronoun, or verb that signifies whether it is singular or plural. See singular; plural.
object   A noun, noun phrase or clause, or pronoun that directly or indirectly receives the action of a verb or follows a preposition <She gently rocked the baby> <He saw where they were going> <I gave him the news> <over the rainbow> <after a series of depressing news stories>. See direct object; indirect object.
objective   A form, or case, of a pronoun indicating its use as the object of a verb or preposition <We spoke to them yesterday> <He's a man whom everyone should know>; compare nominative; possessive.
parallelism   Repeated syntactical similarities within a sentence, such as adjacent phrases and clauses that are equivalent, similar, or opposed in meaning and identical in construction <ecological problems of concern to scientists, to businesspeople, and to all citizens> <He was respected not only for his intelligence but also for his integrity>.

Faulty parallelism occurs when different constructions are used within a sentence where you would ordinarily expect to find similar constructions. It often involves the words and, or, either, or neither. In the sentence "To allow kids to roam the streets at night and failing to provide organized activities have been harmful," an infinitive phrase (To allow kids to roam  . . . ) and a participial phrase (failing to provide  . . . ) are treated as parallel when they are not. Replacing the infinitive with a participle achieves this parallelism (Allowing kids to roam  . . .  and failing to provide  . . . ).

participial phrase   A participle with its complements and modifiers, functioning as an adjective <Hearing the bell ring, he went to the door> <Distressed by the e-mail, she called her sister back>.
participle   A verb form having the characteristics of both verb <The noise has stopped> and adjective <a broken lawn mower>. The present participle ends in -ing <fascinating>; the past participle usually ends in -ed <tired>; the perfect participle combines having with the past participle <having escaped>. See also auxiliary verb; dangling modifier; possessive.
parts of speech   The classes into which words are grouped according to their function in a sentence. See adjective; adverb; conjunction; interjection; noun; preposition; pronoun; verb.
passive voice   A verb form indicating that the subject of a sentence is being acted upon.

Though often considered a weaker form of expression than the active voice, the passive nevertheless has important uses—for example, when the receiver of the action is more important than the doer <He is respected by other scholars>, when the doer is unknown <The signature had been copied expertly> or is understood <Jones was elected on the third ballot>, or when the speaker or writer wants the doer to remain anonymous <He would only say that mistakes had been made>; compare active voice.

person   A characteristic of a verb or pronoun that indicates whether a person is speaking (first person) <I am, we are>, is spoken to (second person) <you are>, or is spoken about (third person) <he, she, it is; they are>. See also number.
personal pronoun   A pronoun that refers to beings and objects and reflects person, number, and often gender.

A personal pronoun's function within a sentence determines its case. The nominative case (I, we, you, he, she, it, they) is used for pronouns that act as subjects of sentences <he and I will attend>.

The possessive case (my, mine, our, ours, your, yours, his, her, hers, its, their, theirs) is used for pronouns that express possession or a similar relationship <our own offices> <its roof>.

The objective case (me, us, you, him, her, it, them) is used for pronouns that are direct objects, indirect objects, retained objects, or objects of prepositions <He told me about the new contract> <She gave him the manuscripts> <He was given them yesterday> <This is between you and her>. See also indefinite pronoun; pronoun.

phrase   A group of two or more words that does not contain both a subject and a verb and that functions as a noun, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, or verb <the old sailor> <stretching for miles> <without a hat> <in place of> <as far as> <break off>.

There are seven basic types of phrases. An absolute phrase consists of a noun followed by a modifier (such as a participial phrase) and acts independently within a sentence without modifying a particular element <He was sitting still, his eyes staring straight ahead>.

A gerund phrase includes a gerund and its modifiers, and it functions as a noun <Eating two doughnuts is Mike's idea of breakfast>.

An infinitive phrase includes an infinitive and may function as a noun, adjective, or adverb <To do that would be stupid> <an event to remember> <They struggled to get free>.

A participial phrase includes a participle and functions as an adjective <Hearing the noise, he ran to the window>.

A verb phrase consists of a verb and any other terms that either modify it or complete its meaning <He comes once a month> <She will arrive too late>. See also noun phrase; participial phrase.

possessive   A form, or case, of a noun or pronoun that usually indicates ownership <the president's message> <their opinions> <its tires>; compare nominative; objective. See also double genitive; genitive; possessive with gerund.
possessive with gerund   Use of a possessive form before a gerund.

In "the reason for everyone['s] wanting to join," either the possessive or the common form of everyone can be used. The possessive is required only when the -ing word is clearly a noun <My being here must embarrass you>. The possessive is quite common with proper nouns <the problem of John's forgetting the keys> but rare with plurals <learned of the bills [bills'] being paid>.

predicate   The part of a sentence or clause that expresses what is said of the subject <Hargrove threw the ball over the fence> <The teachers from the surrounding towns are invited to the dinner> <Jennifer picked up her books and left to catch the bus>.
predicate adjective   An adjective that follows a linking verb (such as be, become, feel, taste, smell, seem) and modifies the subject <She's happy with the outcome> <The milk tastes sour> <He seemed puzzled by the answer>.
prefix   An affix attached to the beginning of a word to change its meaning <amoral> <prepaid> <anti-imperialist> <postwar> <overspend>; compare suffix.
preposition   A word or phrase that combines with a noun, pronoun, adverb, or prepositional phrase for use as a modifier<a book on the table> <You're in big trouble> <outside the house> <because of that> <peeking from behind the fence>.

Sentences may end with a preposition; in fact, many sentences almost require the preposition at the end <What can she be thinking of?> <he got the answer he was looking for> <They still haven't been heard from>.

prepositional phrase   A group of words consisting of a preposition and its complement <out of debt> <the desk with the extra drawer> <He drove on in a cold fury>.
pronoun   Any of a small set of words that are used as substitutes for nouns, phrases, or clauses and refer to someone or something named or understood in the context. See demonstrative pronoun; indefinite pronoun; interrogative pronoun; personal pronoun; reciprocal pronoun; reflexive pronoun; relative pronoun. See also agreement.
proper adjective   An adjective that is derived from a proper noun and is usually capitalized <Roman sculpture> <Mozartean music> <the Middle Eastern situation> <french fries>.
proper noun   A noun that names a particular being or thing and is usually capitalized <Susan, Gandhi, New York, December, General Motors, Muslim, Great Wall of China, Middle Ages, Spanish Civil War, New Year's Day>.
reflexive pronoun   A pronoun that refers to the subject of the sentence, clause, or phrase in which it stands, and is formed by compounding the personal pronouns him, her, it, my, our, them, and your with -self or -selves <She dressed herself> <I myself am not concerned>.
relative pronoun   One of the pronouns (that, which, who, whom, and whose) that introduce a subordinate clause which qualifies an antecedent <a man whom we can trust> <her book, which sold well> <the light that failed>.

The relative pronoun who typically refers to persons and some animals <a man who reads a lot> <a person whom we can trust> <Seattle Slew, who won horse racing's Triple Crown>; which refers to things and animals <a book which sold well> <a dog which barked loudly>; and that refers to persons, animals, and things <a book that sold well> <a man that reads a lot> <a dog that barked loudly> .

Whom is commonly used as the object of a preposition in a clause that it introduces <she is someone for whom I would gladly work>. However, who is commonly used to introduce a question even when it is the object of a preposition <who are you going to listen to?> <who do you work for?>.

restrictive clause (essential clause)   A subordinate clause that is not set off by commas and that cannot be omitted without changing the meaning of the main clause <Textbooks that are not current should be returned> <the only thing that's important>. See also appositive; nonrestrictive clause.
sentence   A group of words that usually contains a subject and a verb, and, as written, ends with a period, question mark, or exclamation point. A simple sentence consists of one main or independent clause <She read the announcement in the newspaper>. A compound sentence consists of two or more main clauses <He left at nine o'clock, and they planned to meet at noon>. A complex sentence consists of a main clause and one or more subordinate clauses <It began to snow before they reached the summit>. See also clause; subordinate clause.

A declarative sentence makes a statement <The cow had jumped over the fence>. An exclamatory sentence expresses strong feeling <That's ridiculous!>. An interrogative sentence asks a question <Who said that?>. An imperative sentence expresses a command or request <Get in here now!>.

sentence adverb   An adverb that modifies an entire sentence, rather than a specific word or phrase within the sentence <Fortunately they had already left>.
split infinitive   An infinitive in which an adverb or adverbial phrase comes between to and the verb <hoping to really impress his boss>.

Grammarians used to disapprove of the split infinitive, but they rarely do so today. It is useful when a writer wants to emphasize the adverb. See also infinitive.

subject   A word or group of words representing the entity about which something is said <He stopped> <It's getting cloudy> <All sixty members voted> <What they want is more opportunity> <Going to work was what she hated most> <To sing at the Metropolitan Opera had long been a dream of his>.
subject-verb agreement   See agreement.
subjunctive   The form, or mood, of a verb that expresses a condition contrary to fact or follows clauses of necessity, demand, or wishing <If he were here, he could answer that> <It's important that the program be broadcast> <They asked that the meeting proceed> <I wish they would come soon>; compare imperative; indicative.
subordinate clause   A clause that is attached to a main clause and functions as a noun, adjective, or adverb <That's a book that you'll remember>. See also clause; sentence.
suffix   An affix attached to the end of a word to modify its meaning <editors> <nationwide> <greenish> <umbrella-like>; compare prefix.
superlative   See comparison.
tense   The characteristic of a verb that expresses time present <see>, past <saw>, or future <will see>.

Auxiliary verbs (be, have) are used to indicate time relations other than the simple present, past, and future tenses. The progressive tenses express action either in progress <is seeing>, in the past <was seeing>, or in the future <will be seeing>. The perfect tenses may express action that began in the past and continues in the present <has seen>, that was completed before another past action <had seen>, or that will be completed before some future action <will have seen>.

transitive verb   A verb that acts upon a direct object <she contributed money> <He runs the store> <Express your opinion>; compare intransitive verb.
verb   A word or phrase that is used to express action, occurrence, or state of being <have, try, communicate, carry out>. See also auxiliary verb; linking verb; mood; tense; voice.
voice   The property of a verb that indicates whether the subject acts or is acted upon. See active voice; passive voice.
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