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Glossary of terms used on this site

Term Definition

The study of the meaning of linguistic expressions.


A grammatical unit that makes a proposition about the world, and at the least contains a subject and a predicate.

Speech act

A piece of speech that performs an action, e.g. a declaration, an announcement or a blessing.

Speech and thought presentation

The way in which the speech and thought of others are represented in spoken or written language.


The study and interpretation of texts using linguistics.


A clause element that performs the function of actor in a clause — Michu scored for Swansea; The two parties debated the Euro; Globalisation has damaged smaller country's economies.

Subordinate clause

A clause that is embedded within a main clause — Whoever ends up winning the league, it has been an eventful season; He was swotting up so that he would pass his exams.


The process by which information is placed in subordinate clauses, where it is not as prominent as information in the main clause — The England team performed well except for a couple of slip-ups.


A word that has a more or less identical meaning to another, except for a difference in style — Toilet and loo; Roll and bap; Alcohol and booze.


The relationship between two words — synonyms — that are more or less identical.


The set of rules governing how sentences are constructed.