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Glossary of terms used on this site

Term Definition
Parallel structures

The repetition of linguistic structures, often for rhetorical or literary effect — Ain't no mountain high enough, Ain't no valley deep enough; We have three priorities — education, education, education.


The use of parallel structures, often for rhetorical or literary effect.

Participation framework

A structure that governs who is involved in a particular interaction and what roles they play.


A sentence that is written in passive voice presents the subject as the recipient of the action represented by the verb — Iraq was invaded by the US; Dozens were evacuated from their homes.


The process by which an active sentence is made passive, sometimes with the deletion of the actor - The press attacked her good name becomes Her good name was attacked (by the press).


A syntactic structure that can consist of more than one word, yet unlike a sentence does not express a proposition — The cat; Running freely; At the shops.


The linguistic study of how people interact and 'get on' through language.


The study of language in the context in which it is used, and how context affects language use and meaning.


A clause element that expresses something about the subject, usually through a verb phrase — The economic crisis ruined their chances of re-election; The ref sent off the goalkeeper.


A word that modifies a noun phrase or verb phrase, introducing additional information on time, place or manner — The house in the woods; We laughed as we cried; Love among the ruins.

Prepositional phrase

A phrase in which the preposition is the head — On the hill; In the provinces; Over the rainbow.

Production format

A means of assessing who has produced the words in a particular instance of speech or writing, who is responsible for composing them, and who or what body is represented by the words used.


A term which takes the place of a noun, and refers to a person, place or thing — She defeated his argument; This is how democracy works; He was unsure who was responsible.


The meaning of a sentence — the thing it expresses about the world.