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Glossary of terms used on this site

Term Definition
Categorical assertion

A statement presented with no modality — London is the capital of England; Capitalism is organised crime; Europe's economies are struggling.

Change of state verb

A verb that suggests a process of change from one thing to another — It has stopped raining; The business expanded its operations.


A grammatical unit that makes a proposition, containing at least a subject and a predicate.

Clause element

A part of a clause that performs a particular grammatical role — subject, predicate, object, complement or adverbial.


A word that frequently occurs with or near to another — Brutally with honest; Tall and dark with handsome.


The study of which words — or collocates — tend to occur around certain other words.


A clause element that provides a description of the subject or object — Life is beautiful; Bill Clinton was president; Football is the best game in the world.


In corpus studies, concordances give an overview of the contexts in which a particular word occurs.

Conditional structure

A subordinate clause beginning with the conjunction 'if', which places a condition on the proposition expressed in the main clause — Labour will win, if they regain trust on the economy.


A particular aspect in the way a word is understood by the speakers of a language, contributing to its meaning.

Conversation Analysis

The area of linguistics that studies talk in interaction, and particular structures in the way we talk.


A collectionof written and/or spoken language which can be investigated to find patterns in language usage.

Corpus Linguistics

The study of corpora to investigate patterns in language usage.

Critical Discourse Analysis

A discipline that looks at the social impact of the language we use, in particular through implicit ideologies.

Critical Stylistics

A discipline that looks at the different ways in which ideologies are contained in the language we use, e.g. through modality, opposition and transitivity.