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Glossary of terms used on this site

Term Definition

A sentence that is written in active voice has a subject which has the function of actor — John plays the bass; America invaded Iraq.


A word that modifies a noun, making its meaning more precise — The cold house; The damaging allegations.


A word that modifies other parts of speech in the way an adjective modifies a noun - John ran speedily; The two parties angrily debated the matter.


A clause element that modifies another clause in the same way an adverb modifies a phrase — She ran off in the direction of the house; I didn't know about adverbials until I went to university.


A word that shares a relationship of opposition with another — Start and finish; Black and white; Male and female.


The relationship of opposition between two words, or antonyms.


The use of two adjacent noun phrases to refer to a single referent — The controversial footballer, Joey Barton, was sent off; The biggest mistake of his career, deciding to go to war, will haunt him.

Auxiliary verb

A verb that accompanies a lexical verb in a verb phrase, indicating person, number, tense, aspect or voice — I will become king; World peace might come about one day.