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Grammar Definitions: Intermediate II


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continuous form
see progressive aspect.
descriptive grammar
a way of writing grammar with the emphasis on describing how a language is actually used rather than aiming at correcting or preventing mistakes.
dynamic passive
a passive voice construction which refers to an action. E.g. The house was redecorated ( Huset ble pusset opp). Compare stative passive.
empty it
a dummy (non–referring) it in clauses about weather, temperature, time, and distance, and in cleft constructions.
end weight principle
the tendency for long and heavy clause elements to be placed at the end of a clause.
etymology
(the study of)the historical origins of a word.
finite clause
a clause with a finite verb (phrase) in it. All main clauses are finite, while subordinate clauses may be either finite or non–finite.
grammatical auxiliary
see auxiliary.
grammatical concord
agreement between the grammatical form of the verb and the grammatical form of the subject. See also concord.
homograph
homographs are two or more words which have the same spelling, but different, unrelated meanings. E.g.down (feathers), down (downward); pole (stick) pole (as in North Pole).
homonymy
a relation between two words which are spelt the same (homograph) or sound the same (homophone), but have different, unrelated meanings.
hyponymy
a sense relation between two words, by which the reference of one includes the reference of the other. E.g. flower/tulip, animal/horse, building/tower, vehicle/car.
infinitive marker
the word to (in front of a verb in its base form).
information principle
the tendency for given elements to precede new ones, so that a sentence starts with given information and has the new information at the end.
insert
a (peripheral) clause element such as oh, hello, yes, no. Inserts usually convey an interpersonal or an emotive meaning. They are always optional.
intensifier
an adverb which functions as a modifier in an adjective phrase or adverb phrase. E.g. very good, terribly ill, quite happily.
inversion
used about a word order whereby the whole verb phrase or an auxiliary occurs in front of the subject. See subject–verb inversion and subject–auxiliary inversion.
lexical verb
a verb which refers to an action, activity, event, or state, and is capable of being the main verb in a verb phrase.
long passive
a passive construction which includes an expressed agent realized as a prepositional phrase with by). E.g. That sonnet was written by Shakespeare. Compare short passive.
metalanguage
language/terminology used to talk about language.
monotransitive verb
a two–place verb which occurs with a direct object in addition to the subject. Compare ditransitive and complex transitive verb.
numeral
a word class consisting of words representing numbers. Cardinal numbers are e.g. one, five, thirty–eight, while ordinal numbers are e.g. first, fifth, thirty–eighth.
obfuscation
evading an issue by deliberately expressing oneself in an obscure manner (in order to avoid telling the truth or acknowledging unpleasant facts).
obligatory
in grammar, an obligatory element is one which cannot be taken away without making the phrase or clause ungrammatical.
optional
an optional element is one which may be removed from a clause or a phrase without making it ungrammatical.