Here are a few important terms; we'll return to them on other
Words come in a variety of types. You're
probably familiar with most types.
Noun: a word denoting [referring to] a person, place, or thing:
city, book, dog
Abstract noun: a word denoting a quality
or state of being:
Proper noun: the name of a person, place,
Pronoun: a word used
in place of ("pro"="for") a noun:
Personal pronoun: refers to a person:
she, you, we, they; me, him, her, us, them
Impersonal pronoun: refers to a thing:
Plus many other types:
possessive pronoun (e.g.,
my), relative pronoun (e.g., that,
pronoun (e.g., myself), and so on
Verb: a word denoting
to read, to be
Modifier: a word (or
phrase or clause) that "modifies," or describes, a noun or a verb.
Adjective: a word that modifies a noun:
Adverb: a word that modifies a verb:
quickly, fast (it can be either)
Preposition: a word denoting a position in time or space:
from, in, out, up, down, before, toward, etc.
Article: a word used
with a noun to indicate whether something specific ("definite") or more
general ("indefinite") is meant:
Definite article: the
Groups of Words:
To form sentences, we group words together in various combinations.
There are two kinds of groups of words, and it's important to distinguish
between them. First, we need to discuss the role or function of nouns
in sentences. A noun can be the subject or the object of a verb:
Subject: That which
performs the action (or "does the verb"):
book lies on the table.
("book" as subject)
Object: That which
receives the action:
the book. ("book"
Phrase: A group of
words usually based on a noun, verb, or preposition:
Noun phrase: the brown dog
down the street
Note: a phrase may
contain a subject (the noun that does the verb) or the verb denoting the action that the
subject is performing, but not both.
Clause: A group of
words that includes both the subject
and its verb:
brown dog runs quickly. ("dog" is the subject; "runs" is its verb)
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