English Teacher Terminology

Letter(s) or a shortened word used instead of a full word or phrase.

Active Voice
In the active voice, the subject of the verb does the action (eg. They killed the President).

A word like big, red, easy, French etc. An adjective describes a noun or pronoun.

A word like slowly, quietly, well, often etc. An adverb shows how something (the verb) does what it is doing.

A word which means (almost) the oppposite as another.

The repetition of consonant sounds - usually at the beginning of words.

A raised comma used to denote either possession or contraction.

The "indefinite" articles are a and an. The "definite article" is the.

Auxiliary Verb
A verb that is used with a main verb. Be, do and have are auxiliary verbs. Can, may, must, should, might and would are modal auxiliary verbs.

A group of words containing a subject and its verb (for example: It was late when he arrived).

An over-used phrase or expression.

We use the comparative to compare one person(s) or thing(s) to another person(s) or thing(s).

A word used to connect words, phrases and clauses (for example: and, but, if).

Consonants are the letters of the alphabet which are not vowels.

Two vowel characters representing the sound of a single vowel.

Direct object
A noun or noun phrase representing the primary goal or the result of the action of its verb.

Figure of speech
Expressive use of language in non-literal form used for dramatic descriptive effect.

The role language plays to express ideas or attitudes.

An ‘ing’ ending verb which is used as a noun. The gerund can act as the subject or object of a main verb. E. g.: Studying is good for you.

Words with the same spelling but with different meanings.

A short horizontal mark used to connect words or syllables, or to divide words into parts.

A sequence of words which form a whole unit of meaning. A phrase, whose meaning is known and is not meant literally. (e.g. The tip of the iceberg. Pull your socks up).

Grammatical mood of a verb that is used when ordering, instructing, advising, encouraging and offering. The form is the same as the infinitive without to.

Indirect object
A grammatical object representing to whom or what the action (verb) was carried out upon. For example, "me" is the indirect object of the sentence "He gave me an apple".

The basic form of a verb as in to work or work.

An utterance used in speech lacking a grammatical connection to the rest of the sentence. E.g. Drat! I forgot my watch.

The use of pitch in speech to create contrast and variation.

Intransitive verb
A verb that does not act on an object. For example, "lobby" is intransitive in the sentence "I lobby for a national ban on public smoking".

Saying [or writing] one thing, whilst meaning the opposite.

The technical language of an occupation or group.

A figure of speech in which one thing is described in terms of another.

Modal Verb
An auxiliary verb like can, may, must etc that modifies the main verb and expresses possibility, probability etc. It is also called "modal auxiliary verb".

A word like table, dog, teacher, America etc. A noun is the name of an object, concept, person or place. A "concrete noun" is something you can see or touch like a person or car. An "abstract noun" is something that you cannot see or touch like a decision or happiness. A "countable noun" is something that you can count (for example: bottle, song, dollar). An "uncountable noun" is something that you cannot count (for example: water, music, money).

In the active voice, a noun or its equivalent that receives the action of the verb. In the passive voice, a noun or its equivalent that does the action of the verb.

A word that sounds like the thing it describes.

A figure of speech which yokes two contradictory terms. For example, Absolutely maybe.

A figure of speech in which an apparent contradiction contains a truth. For example, Which is better, eternal happiness or a ham sandwich? It would appear that eternal happiness is better, but this is really not so! After all, nothing is better than eternal happiness, and a ham sandwich is certainly better than nothing. Therefore a ham sandwich is better than eternal happiness.

The -ing and -ed forms of verbs. The -ing form is called the "present participle". The -ed form is called the "past participle" .

Part of Speech
One of the eight classes of word in English - noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition, conjunction and interjection.

Passive Voice
In the passive voice, the subject receives the action of the verb (eg. The President was killed).

A group of words not containing a subject and its verb (eg. on the table, the girl in a red dress).

A class of grammatical forms used to denote more than one of some noun or pronoun.

A grammatical case that denotes ownership.

Each sentence contains (or implies) two parts: a subject and a predicate. The predicate is what is said about the subject.

A word which governs and typically precedes a noun or a pronoun. Prepositions of Direction are, To, On(to), In(to). Prepositions of Location are At, In, On.

A word like I, me, you, he, him, it etc. A pronoun replaces a noun.

Relative clause
A clause introduced by a relative pronoun; `who visits frequently' is a relative clause in the sentence `John, who visits frequently, is ill'.

A group of words that express a thought. A sentence conveys a statement, question, exclamation or command. A sentence contains or implies a subject and a predicate. In simple terms, a sentence must contain a verb and (usually) a subject. A sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop (.), question mark (?) or exclamation mark (!).

A figure of speech in which one thing is directly likened to another.

The form of a pronoun or noun used to reference an object that occurs singly.

Informal, non-standard vocabulary.

Every sentence contains (or implies) two parts: a subject and a predicate. The subject is the main noun (or equivalent) in a sentence about which something is said.

We use the superlative to compare one person or thing with his whole group. E.g. Henrik Larsson was the greatest footballer in the world.

A word which means (almost) the same as another.

The arrangement of words to show relationships of meaning within a sentence.

The form of a verb that shows us when the action or state happens (past, present or future).

Transitive verb
A verb that can act upon an object. E.g. Jack opened the door slowly.

The last syllable of a word. "Ma" is the ultima of "ultima"

A word like (to) work, (to) love, (to) begin. A verb describes an action or state.

In English, the vowels are a, e, i, o, u (and sometimes y).