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Glossary of terms used on this site

Term Definition

The linguistic study of how things are referred to through language.


The use of a negative particle, negative pre-modifier or semantic negativity — I don't believe it; There are no winners; There is an absence of thought.

Negative particle

The particle n't, which is attached to a verb to make it negative. — I haven't got a clue; You won't believe what happened; America can't win this war.


A word that performs the role of a noun, even if that is not its conventional grammatical role — The indifferent won't be tempted to vote; Whether or not she can win is a major if.


The transformation of a process into a thing — usually involving a transition from a verb to a noun — The West declared war on terrorism — The West's declaration of war on terrorism.


A word that stands for a person, place or thing — Animal; House; Fun; War; Globalisation.

Noun phrase

A phrase that has a noun as its head — The blue cat; The twelfth president of the United States of America; The debatable decision to ignore warnings.