active one of two voices of a verb, the other being passive:
she reads a book (active)
the book is read by her (passive)
Note how the object of the active expression becomes the subject in the passive one
adjective an adjective describes or qualifies a noun or pronoun:
a long drive, a deafening roar
the meal was delicious, it was interesting
adverb adverbs qualify verbs and often—but not always—end -ly:
they ran quickly
she visited us often

They also qualify adjectives and other adverbs:
he is too slow
they ran very quickly

article the (definite article)
a, an (indefinite article)
case the form of a noun, pronoun or adjective which by its ending defines the grammatical role of the word in a sentence:
e.g. nominative case [subject], accusative [object], genitive [possessive]

Applicable to languages such as German and Latin

clause a clause contains (or implies) a subject and a finite verb:
the sun shines
A main clause can form a sentence by itself. A subordinate clause needs a main clause to complement it:
if the sun shines
though he was innocent
because they were late
A subordinate clause is introduced by a conjunction
conditional a form of verbs like indicative, imperative or subjunctive, usually expressed in English with would (in some languages this is expressed with a subjunctive):
if I were you, I would leave at once

Also used in some languages as a polite form of request:
I would like more raspberries please

conjunction words which join together words, phrases, clauses and sentences:
and, but, or, because, if, when, since, although, however, therefore, moreover
finite the finite form of a verb must have (or imply) a subject, unlike an infinitive or gerund
gender there are three genders: masculine, feminine or neuter; English does not distinguish genders as much as it once did. The ones we still have are either completely different words:
boy, girl, aunt, uncle, bull, cow
or change their endings a little:
actor, actress, hero, heroine
These distinctions are used less often now: seldom will a female manager be called a manageress, and you are unlikely to hear of a managing directress or a bus conductress
gerund a form of a verb used as a noun (similar to an infinitive):
seeing is believing
We might replace the gerunds here with infinitives:
to see is to believe
But we cannot replace this gerund in the same way:
we will win by playing our best

Note that a gerund is different from a participle (though shares the same form). A participle is an adjective:
we watched the moving play
But a gerund is a noun:
moving house is very stressful
A gerund, though a noun, can have its own object (here: house)

grammar the science of language and its inflexions; recognised norms of usage; patterns which can be studied and applied to other expressions
idiom a peculiar expression which does not conform to the general rules or patterns of its language's grammar
imperative the form of a verb which expresses a command:
sit! bring! speak!
imperfect a past tense of a verb, describing an incomplete, continuous or recurring past action:
they used to watch the local team
she visited us every Tuesday
at six o'clock he would light his pipe 
we were travelling to Spain when it happened
indicative the form of a verb which describes something which happens or exists (whereas the subjunctive describes potential action):
if he is at home he will have my message by now indicative
if she were here, she would be happy subjunctive
infinitive a form of a verb which is normally expressed with to in front:
she wants to see a film
to be or not to be
inflexion variable endings of words to express case, number, gender, tense or person
interrogative a word which asks a question
intransitive an intransitive verb cannot take a direct object (only an indirect one):
we go to the beach
noun these are concrete "things" which you can see or feel, like table, computer, spider, Bristol, France, John Major. Nouns can also be abstract ideas like thirst, delay, holiday, things which are real enough, but which cannot be seen or felt in the same way as concrete objects can.

People who write newspaper headlines often use nouns as if they were adjectives:
cabinet minister in vice den tax fraud
The underlined words would normally be nouns but are here used as adjectives

number singular or plural
object an object is a noun or pronoun, and is on the 'receiving end' of the action of a verb (while the subject 'does' it):
she reads the book

An indirect object is usually expressed with a preposition:
she reads the book to them
Note how an indirect object can be obscured:
she reads them the book

participle a form of a verb which is used as an adjective:
the moving film
the surprised guests
after waiting for an hour at the station, I took a taxi

Be careful with 'hanging' participles:
after waiting for an hour at the station, a train eventually arrived 
This is wrong because the participle is an adjective and here is used to describe the train, though the train was not waiting at all! Better to say:
after I waited....
and turn the participle into a finite verb

passive one of two voices of a verb, the other being active:
the book is read by her (passive)
she reads a book (active)
Note how the subject in the passive expression becomes the object of the active one
perfect a past tense of a verb referring to a period of time now ended:
we have moved house
I saw the circus acrobats yesterday
you did not write to me
person the 'first person' is the person speaking (i.e. "I" or, if plural, "we", the 'second person' is the person(s) addressed (i.e. "you"), and the 'third person' is the person being talked about (i.e. "he", "she", "it", "they" or a named person or thing)

The ending of a verb often changes depending on the person. In English there is only one change—to the third person singular (e.g. I, you, we or they read, but s/he reads) . In other languages the endings are more variable, e.g. French, which in a few cases has changes to the front half of a word too:
I come  je viens
you come   tu viens
he/she comes   il/elle vient
we come   nous venons
you come   vous venez
they come   ils/elles viennent

phrase a combination of two or more words without a finite verb
pluperfect past tense of a verb including 'had':
I had left the premises before she arrived
plural describes two or more (a plural verb has a plural subject)
possessive usually expressed with the apostrophe, though also expressed with the preposition of:
the boy's football (of the boy)
the boys' football match (of the boys)
The apostrophe has replaced a vowel which was once part of the possessive word-ending in an earlier form of English
prefix an addition to the front of a word:
pre-, post-, sub- etc
preposition prepositions combine with nouns or pronouns to form an expression which usually describes time or place, or an indirect object:
in London, at 3.30 p.m., on a bus, between midday and 3 p.m., under the bridge, with a friend, to his dismay, half of the cake, near Bristol, after Tuesday
pronoun pronouns are used in place of nouns (the Latin word pro meant in place of): 
I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they
me, you, him, her, us, you, them
Notice how the pronouns on the first line are used as subjects, and on the second as objects.

Other pronouns include
this, that, those
when they are used by themselves. If they are used with a noun, e.g. this boat, they are adjectives.

Also: who, whom, which, whose

sentence a sentence must contain a main clause (i.e. a subject and a finite verb)
singular describes only one (a singular verb has a singular subject)
subject a subject is a noun or pronoun, and performs the action of a verb (as opposed to an object, which is on the 'receiving end'):
she reads the book
subjunctive the form of a verb which describes a potential rather than real action or condition (as opposed to indicative):
if she were here, she would be happy subjunctive 
if he is at home he will have my message by now indicative
syntax the grammatical structure of a sentence
tense the tense of a verb describes when the action took place:
is watching
does (not) watch

will watch 
is going to watch 

has watched
did (not) watch
used to watch
has been watching
had watched
had been watching
was watching

present tense

future tense

past tenses

transitive a transitive verb takes a direct object (as opposed to an intransitive verb which does not):
they eat a meal
verb these words usually describe an action, or sometimes a condition. Every sentence should have one (or imply one):
we visit a restaurant
he is in the house
voice a verb has two voices: active and passive


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