Update: 2012-11-24 06:16 AM +0630


TIL Grammar Glossary


Compiled by U Kyaw Tun (UKT), M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning, http://www.tuninst.net ), from various sources. Prepared for students of TIL Computing and Language Center, Yangon, Myanmar. Not for sale.

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Grammar Glossary - A

• abbreviation • ablaut • absolute phrase • abstract and concrete • abstract noun • academic question • accent • acrostic • accusative case • acronym • active voice • adjectival • adjectival noun • adjective • adjective clause • adjective phrase • adjunct • adposition • adverb • adverb clause • adverbial • adverbial conjunction • adverb phrase • affix • agent • agreement • allegory • allomorph • allophone • alphabet • ambitransitive • analogy • analysis • animate noun • antecedent • antonym • aorist • APA style • apodosis • apostrophe • appeals • apposition (appositive) • argument • article • aspect • assertion • assumption • attributive adjective • audience • auxiliary verb

UKT Notes
• English roots • Grammatical aspect • preterit

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From: UseE
Many long words, especially those that we use a lot, are shortened; a word that has been shortened is an abbreviation.
     Ad / Advert = Advertisement
     Flu = Influenza

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ablaut n. 1. A vowel change, characteristic of Indo-European languages, that accompanies a change in grammatical function; for example, i, a, u in sing, sang, sung. Also Called gradation . [German ab off( from Old High German aba) ;See apo- in Indo-European Roots. Laut sound ( from Middle High German lūt) (from Old High German hlūt); See kleu- in Indo-European Roots.]

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absolute phrase

From: LBH
A phrase consisting of a noun or pronoun plus the -ing or -ed form of a verb (a participle):

Our accommodations arranged, we set out on our journey.
They will hire a local person, other things being equal.

An absolute phrase modifies a whole clause or sentence (rather than a single word), and it is not joined to the rest of the sentence by a connector. (See p. 273.)

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abstract and concrete

From LBH
Two kinds of language.
words refer to ideas, qualities, attitudes, and conditions that can't be perceived with the senses:

beauty / guilty / victory.

Concrete words refer to objects, persons, places, or conditions that can be perceived with the senses:

Abilene / scratchy / toolbox.
UKT note: Abilene is the name of a town in the US.

See also general and specific. (See p. 570.)

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abstract noun

From UseE
An abstract noun refers to states, events, concepts, feelings, qualities, etc., that have no physical existence.

freedom / happiness / idea / music
are all Abstract Nouns that have no physical existence.

An abstract noun can be either a Countable Noun or Uncountable Noun. Abstract nouns that refer to events are almost usually countable:

a noise / a meeting

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academic question 

From UseE
An ACADEMIC Question is one whose answer may be of interest but is of no practical use or importance.

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From UseE
1. A person's accent is the way he or she speaks, with differences in the sounds that can show the place a person comes from, or their social class.
2. Some languages use accents to change the sound of a letter, represented in writing by a symbol over the letter. English has no accents, except in some foreign words.
3. The accent on a word is the greater stress put onto a syllable. 'Photographer' has the stress on the second Syllable, whereas 'photographic' has the stress on the third Syllable.

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From UseE
An acrostic is a poem where the first letter of each line form a word or phrase when read together.

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accusative case

See • objective case

From CoG
These are two names for the same grammatical case in English. Accusative is the older term, but because there is no longer any morphological distinction between dative and accusative cases in English, some grammarians concluded that one catchall case name, objective, would serve. Today this case’s forms are morphologically distinguished from other cases only in the personal pronouns (me, him, her, us, them, and whom), but syntactically many grammars still label as accusative or objective case any nouns and other nominals found in any of these functions:

• direct object
   I hit the pitch  

• indirect object
   We fed the baby lunch  

• object complement
   I tagged him it  

• object of a preposition
   through the window  

See: • case  • direct object  • indirect object  • morphology  • object complement  • object of a preposition.

Kenneth G. Wilson (1923–).  The Columbia Guide to Standard American English, 1993, www.bartleby.com

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From LBH
A pronounceable word formed from the initial letter or letters of each word in an organization's title:
     NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

From UseE 
An acronym is a kind of Abbreviation. It is a word formed by taking letters from a phrase that is too long to use comfortably.
     Laser is an acronym of Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
Examples of acronyms from UseE : CALL / EFL / ESOL / EAP / TEFL / TESOL

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active voice  

See: • voice.

From UseE  
English verbs can be in either the Active or the Passive Voice. Voice shows the relationship between the verb and the noun phrases. In a sentence in the active, the person or thing that performed the action is the Subject of the Verb.

I wrote the letter. -- active

In a sentence in the passive the Object of the active sentence is used as the subject of the verb.

The letter was sent yesterday. -- passive

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See: • nominal  • verbal

From LBH  
A term sometimes used to describe any word or word group, other than an adjective, that is used to modify a noun. Common adjectivals include:

• nouns
     wagon train / railroad ties  
     wagon is a noun acting as an adjective to train. Contrast against adjectival noun.

• phrases
     fool on the hill   
UKT: This example from LBH is probably taken from an American political diatribe, where the hill refers to the US Congress, and the fool refers to either a congressman or a senator. Though such usages are allowable in the American politics, Myanmars should take care not to use such a language in other countries.

• clauses
     the man that I used to be 

From AHTD -- 
adj. Grammar 1. Of, relating to, or functioning as an adjective.

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adjectival noun

From UseE
An Adjective can sometimes function as a Noun:

• the young • the rich, etc.
young is an adjective acting as a noun. Contrast against adjectival.

These are Adjectival Nouns, meaning the people who are young, the people who are rich, etc.

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From LBH  
A word used to modify:

• a noun
beautiful morning

• a pronoun
ordinary one. (See Chapter 16.)

Nouns, some verb forms, phrases, and clauses may also serve as adjectives:

book sale
a used book
sale of old books
the sale, which occurs annually.

See: • clauses, • prepositional phrases, • verbals, and • verbal phrases.)

Adjectives come in several classes:

• A descriptive adjective names some quality of the noun:

beautiful morning
dark horse

• A limiting adjective narrows the scope of a noun.

a possessive
my / their  

a demonstrative adjective
this train / these days  

an interrogative adjective
what time?
whose body?

a number
two boys  

• A proper adjective is derived from a proper noun:

French language
Machiavellian scheme

Adjectives also can be classified according to position:

• An attributive adjective appears next to the noun it modifies:

full moon

• A predicate adjective is connected to its noun by a linking verb (UKT: also known as copula):

The moon is full.

See also complement.

From UseE   
An adjective modifies a noun. It describes the quality, state or action that a noun refers to.

1. Adjectives can come before nouns:
   a new car

2. They can come after verbs such as: be / become / seem / look / etc.:
   that car looks fast

3. They can be modified by adverbs:
   a very expensive car

4. They can be used as complements to a noun:
   the extras make the car expensive

From AHTD  
Any of a class of words used to modify a noun or other substantive by limiting, qualifying, or specifying and distinguished in English morphologically by one of several suffixes, such as -able, -ous, -er, and -est, or syntactically by position directly preceding a noun or nominal phrase, such as:
     white in a white house.

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adjective clause  

See • adjective.

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adjective phrase  

See • adjective.

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From UseE
An adjunct is part of a Sentence and modifies the Verb to show time, manner, place, frequency and degree.

It is nearly done.
Nearly describes the degree to which the action has been done.

I go there twice a week.
Twice a week describes the frequency with which the action is done.)

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UKT: The word is not in AHTD.
From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prepositional_phrase 080620

An adpositional phrase is a linguistics term that includes (a) prepositional phrase(s) (which are usually found in head-first languages like English) and (b) postpositional phrases (usually found in head-final languages like Dutch). The difference between the two is simply one of word order.

Both types of adpositional phrases are a syntactic category: a phrase which is treated in certain ways as a unit by a language's rules of syntax. An adpositional phrase is composed of an adposition (in the head position, which is why it lends its name to the phrase) and usually a complement such as a noun phrase. ("Adposition" is similarly a generic term for either a preposition /ˌprep.əˈzɪʃ.ən/ or a postposition /ˌpəʊst.pəˈzɪʃ.ən/. (UKT: Notice how the two terms are pronounced: I have given their transcriptions based on DJPD16.) These phrases generally act as complements and adjuncts of noun phrases and verb phrases.

Prepositional phrases
The bolded phrases are examples of prepositional phrases in English:

• She is on the computer.
• He could hear her across the room.
• Sarah walked down the ramp.
• They walked to their school.
• Garrett ate in the kitchen.

Prepositional phrases have a preposition as the head of the phrase.

The first example could be diagrammed (using simplified modern notation):

The diagram shows that the prepositional phrase in this sentence is composed of two parts: a preposition and a noun phrase. The preposition is in the head position, and the noun phrase is in the complement position. Because English is a head-first language, we usually see the head before the complement (or any adjuncts) when we actually read the sentence. (However, the head comes after the specifier, such as the determiner "the" in the noun phrase above.)

See adposition for more examples of complements found in prepositional phrases.

Prepositional phrases generally act as complements and adjuncts of noun phrases and verb phrases. For example:

• The man from China was enjoying his noodles. (Adjunct of a noun phrase)
• She ran under him. (Adjunct of a verb phrase)
• He gave money to the cause. (Oblique complement of a verb phrase)
• A student of physics. (Complement of a noun phrase)
• She argued with him. (Complement of a verb phrase)

A prepositional phrase should not be confused with the sequence formed by the particle and the direct object of a phrasal verb, as in turn on the light. This sequence is structurally distinct from a prepositional phrase. In this case, "on" and "the light" do not form a unit; they combine independently with the verb "turn".

Another common point of confusion is that the word "to" may appear either as a preposition or as a verbal particle in infinitive verb phrases, such as "to run for president".

Postpositions are usually found in head-final languages such as Basque, Estonian, Finnish, Japanese, Bengali and Tamil. The word or other morpheme that corresponds to an English preposition occurs after its complement, hence the name postposition. The following examples are from Japanese:

• mise ni ("to the store")
• ie kara ("from the house")
• hashi de ("with chopsticks" or "on the bridge")

And from Finnish, where postpositions have further developed into case endings:

• kauppaan ("to the store")
• talosta ("from the house")
• puikoilla ("with chopsticks")

Postpositional phrases generally act as complements and adjuncts of noun phrases and verb phrases.


The following is from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preposition 080611

Linguists sometimes distinguish between a preposition, which precedes its phrase, a postposition, which follows its phrase, and as a rare case a circumposition, which surrounds its phrase. Taken together, these three parts of speech are called adpositions. In more technical language, an adposition is an element that, prototypically, combines syntactically with a phrase and indicates how that phrase should be interpreted in the surrounding context. Some linguists use the word "preposition" instead of "adposition" for all three cases. (Wiki-p-fn01).

In linguistics, adpositions are considered to be members of the syntactic category "P". " PPs" (Wiki-p-fn02), consisting of an adpositional head and its complement phrase, are used for a wide range of syntactic and semantic functions, most commonly modification and complementation. The following examples illustrate some uses of English prepositional phrases [either as a modifier or a complement]:

as a modifier to a verb
• sleep throughout the winter
• danced atop the tables for hours

as a modifier to a noun
• the weather in April
• cheeses from France with live bacteria

as the complement of a verb
• insist on staying home
• dispose of unwanted items

as the complement of a noun
• a thirst for revenge
• an amendment to the constitution

as the complement of an adjective or adverb
• attentive to their needs
• separately from its neighbors

as the complement of another preposition
• until after supper
• from beneath the bed

Adpositions perform many of the same functions as case markings, but adpositions are syntactic elements, while case markings are morphological elements.

Wikipedia footnotes [on prepositions]
Wiki-p-fn01  An example is Huddleston & Pullum (2002) ("CGEL"), whose choice of terms is discussed on p. 602. Wiki-p-fn01b
Wiki-p-fn02  Although seemingly appropriate, the term adpositional phrase is little used. CGEL, p. 602. Wiki-p-fn02b

[More on the website. See my notes on Preposition and Postposition in P01.htm ]

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From: LBH
A word used to modify:

• a verb
     warmly greet

• an adjective
     only three people

• another adverb
     quite seriously

• a whole sentence
     Fortunately, she is employed

(See Chapter 16.)

Some verb forms, phrases, and clauses may also serve as adverbs:

easy to stop
drove by a farm
plowed the fields when the earth thawed

See • clause • prepositional phrase • verbal • verbal phrase .

From: UseE
Most adverbs in English are formed by adding -ly to an Adjective. An adverb is a word that modifies the meaning of a Verb; an Adjective; another Adverb; a Noun or Noun Phrase; Determiner; a Numeral; a Pronoun; or a Prepositional Phrase and can sometimes be used as a Complement of a Preposition.

Adverb spelling notes:
1. Adjectives ending -l still take -ly
     careful --> carefully
2. Adverbs ending -y change to -ily
     lucky --> luckily
3. Adjectives ending -ble change to -bly,
     responsible --> responsibly

Adverb of manner: Adverbs of manner modify a verb to describe the way the action is done.
     She did the work carefully.
     ('Carefully' modifies the verb to describe the way the work was done, as opposed to quickly, carelessly, etc..)

Adverb of place or location: Adverbs of place show where the action is done.
     They live locally.

Adverb of time: Adverbs of time show when an action is done, or the duration or frequency.
     He did it yesterday. (When)
     They are permanently busy. (Duration)
     She never does it. (Frequency)

Adverb of degree: Adverbs of degree increase or decrease the effect of the verb.
     I completely agree with you.
     (This increases the effect of the verb, whereas 'partially' would decrease it.)

Adverbs modifying adjectives: An adjective can be modified by an adverb, which precedes the adjective, except 'enough' which comes after.
     That's really good.
     It was a terribly difficult time for all of us.
     It wasn't good enough.
('Enough' comes after the adjective.)

Adverbs modifying adverbs: An adverb can modify another. As with adjectives, the adverb precedes the one it is modifying with 'enough' being the exception again.
     She did it really well.
     He didn't come last night, funnily enough.

Adverbs modifying nouns: Adverbs can modify nouns to indicate time or place.
     The concert tomorrow
     The room upstairs

Adverbs modifying noun phrases: Some adverbs of degree can modify noun phrases.
     We had quite a good time.
     They're such good friends.
     What a day!

          quite, rather, such can be used similar to what (What a day!).

Adverbs modifying determiners, numerals and pronouns: Adverbs such as almost; nearly; hardly; about, etc., can be used:
     Almost everybody came in the end.

- UseE

From: AHTD
1. A part of speech comprising a class of words that modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.
2. A word belonging to this class, such as:

rapidly in The dog runs rapidly.

From: UVic English Language Centre, 1999
http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/elc/studyzone/410/grammar/advphr.htm 080521
An adverb may be a single word, such as quickly, here or yesterday. However, adverbs can also be phrases, some made with prepositions, others made with infinitives. This page will explain the basic types of adverb phrases (sometimes called "adverbial phrases") and how to recognize them.

Basic types of adverbs
In the section on adverbs, you learned about three basic types of adverb: manner, place and time adverbs. There are at least two more that are important. Frequency adverbs answer the question "How often?" about an action. Purpose adverbs answer the question "Why?". Here are some examples:

Basic types of adverbs
• Mika usually gets up early. -- Adverb of frequency
• I write computer programs for fun. -- Adverb of purpose.

While the first example, usually, is a single word, the second example (for fun) is a phrase consisting of a preposition and a noun -- in other words, it is a prepositional phrase which functions as an adverb phrase.

All kinds of adverb phrases can be made with prepositions. Here are some examples:

Adverb phrases made with prepositions
• The carpenter hit the nail with a hammer. -- Adv. phrase of manner
• The woman who lives next door is a doctor. -- Adv. phrase of place
• We must finish our project before the holidays. -- Adv. phrase of time
• Jodie buys two CDs every month. -- Adv. phrase of frequency
• Jack bought the flowers for his mother. -- Adv. phrase of purpose

Another kind of adjective phrase can be made with the infinitive form of a verb. Most of these phrases express purpose, as in these examples:

Adverb phrases made with infinitives
• I'm saving my money to buy a car. -- Adv. phrase of purpose
• The students all showed up to support the team. -- Adv. phrase of purpose
• Sally bought a painting home from school to show to her mother. -- Adv. phrase of purpose.

UKT note: The third sentence from UVic is not totally correct because of controversial placement of (from school). I would prefer:
     • Sally bought a painting from school and brought it home to show to her mother.
However, if you are writing it in journalistic style, you would have to use it to save printed space. Of course, while speaking, you would use the style given by UVic. Myanmar students should note that the style used by various native speakers and writers do differ from person and person and there is no single way of writing or speaking. Generally, you can guess the background of the writer or speaker from the style.

From: UVic
http://web2.uvcs.uvic.ca/elc/studyzone/410/grammar/advphr1.htm 080521

Note to myself: The following are what I have worked out from study session. I still have to re-list them in their respective groups. There are more examples on the site.

01. It rained hard yesterday. -- Adverb of  manner.

02. I bought the glue to fix my broken lamp. -- Adverb of purpose

03. Janice placed the chair next to the window. -- Adverb of place

04. Joe buys flowers for his wife every week. -- Adverb of frequency

05. Surfing is a popular sport in the summer. -- Adverb of time

06. I wear wooly socks to keep my feet warm. -- Adverb of purpose

07. The woman stared at me with an angry expression. -- Adverb of manner

08. I'll meet you on Friday. -- Adverb of time

09. We hardly ever use the microwave. -- Adverb of frequency

10. Elephants are found in Africa and India. -- Adverb of place


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adverb clause  

See • adverb.

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From LBH
A term sometimes used to describe any word or word group, other than an adverb, that is used to modify a verb, an adjective, another adverb, or a whole sentence. Common adverbials include:

• nouns
     This little piggy stayed home.

• phrases
     This little piggy went to market.

• clauses
     This little piggy went wherever he wanted.

From UseE  
An adverbial is a group of words that functions in the same way as an Adverb:

Before the play, we met up in a pub near the theatre.

'Before the play' functions in the same way as an adverb of time such as Yesterday, etc.

UKT - based on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telicity 091221
As stated in the Wikipedia article, there are two types of adverbials: time-frame adverbial (e.g., "in an hour" or "within an hour"), and time-span adverbial (e.g. "for an hour"). For an action such as "walked"

"John walked home in an hour."
* John walked home for an hour.

"John walked around for an hour."
* John walked around in an hour.

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adverbial conjunction  

See • conjunctive adverb.

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adverb phrase  

See • adverb.

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See • prefix / suffix • English Roots

From UseE
An affix is a Morpheme added to a word to change its function or meaning. There are three basic ways to do this:
Prefix - by adding a morpheme to the beginning of a word:
     Possible can be made the opposite in meaning by adding im-; impossible
Suffix - by adding -ly to the end of many adjectives, the adverb can be formed;
     cheerful –> cheerfully
Infix - some languages add morphemes to the middle of the word, but this system is rarely used in English, except in expressions such as 'Fan-bloody-tastic'.

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From UseE
The agent is the person or entity that performs the action described by a Verb. It is most commonly used in the Passive when the agent is used with 'by ' :

The politician's career was ruined by the scandal.

The scandal performed the act of ruining the politician's career. It is the agent.

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From LBH
The correspondence of one word to another in person, number, or gender.

• A verb must agree with its subject
     The chef orders egg sandwiches.
• A pronoun must agree with its antecedent
     The chef surveys her breakfast.  
• A demonstrative adjective must agree with its noun.
     She likes these kinds of sandwiches.

(See Chapter 15.)

Logical agreement  requires consistency in number between other related words, usually nouns:
     The students brought their books
[not book ]. (See p. 391.)

From UseE   
When words have a grammatical relationship which affects the form of one or more of the elements then they agree. THREE GIRLS shows agreement because the Noun has the Plural Inflection, which is required by the number. It is another way of saying Concord.

Correspondence in gender, number, case, or person between words.

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From UseE
An allegory is a narrative where similarities between the narrative are used symbolically to suggest something else; a journey could be used allegorically to suggest a person's journey through life, etc.

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From UseE
An allomorph is a different form of a Morpheme. The regular Simple Past ending is -ed. In the verb 'advised' the ending is pronounced /d/, but in 'walked' it is pronounced /t/ and in 'wanted' it is pronounced /i:d/. A verb ending in -e, like 'hire' only takes -d. These are different forms of the same thing; they are allomorphs of the simple past tense ending.

UKT 080526: Simple Past, I went , is given by Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_tense  080526, as Preterite or Aorist .

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From UseE
An allophone is a different form of the same sound or Phoneme.

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See • transitive verb

Excerpt from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transitive_verb 080610
Verbs that can be used in a transitive or intransitive way are called ambitransitive; an example is the verb eat, since the sentences I am eating (with an intransitive form) and I am eating an apple (with a transitive form that has an apple as the object) are both grammatically correct.

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See • phonetic alphabet • Phonetic Alphabet

From UseE 
The letters used to write a language are its alphabet. The English alphabet consists of 26 letters:
     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Upper Case
     a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Lower Case


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From LBH
A comparison between members of different classes, such as a nursery school and a barnyard or a molecule and a pair of dancers. Usually, the purpose is to explain something unfamiliar to readers through something familiar. (See p. 101.)

From AHTD 
  1. The process by which words and morphemes are re-formed or created on the model of existing grammatical patterns in a language, as Modern English name : names for Old English nama : naman on the model of nouns like stone : stones.
2. The process by which inflectional paradigms are made more regular by the replacement of an uncommon or irregular stem or affix by one that is common or regular, as bit in Modern English bit, bitten for Old English b āt, biten. [Middle English analogie from Old French from Latin analogia from Greek from analogos proportionate; See analogous ]

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From LBH
The separation of a subject into its elements. Sometimes called division, analysis is fundamental to critical thinking, reading, and writing (pp. 129–31) and is a useful tool for developing essays (p. 27) and paragraphs (pp. 98–99).

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animate noun

From UseE
A Noun which refers to people, animals and living beings is an Animate Noun. Inanimate Nouns refer to things that are not alive.

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See • precedent  • prefix  • preposition  • prepositional phrase

From LBH
The word to which a pronoun refers:

 Jonah, who is not yet ten, has already chosen the college he will attend.
Jonah is the antecedent of the pronouns who and he. (See pp. 341–45.)

The word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers.

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See • homonym • synonym .

From UseE
An Antonym is a word that means the opposite of another.

fat is an antonym of thin

More examples of antonyms:

Antonyms made by adding the prefix un-
likely >< unlikely
     able >< unable
     fortunate >< unfortunate

Antonyms made by adding the prefix non-
entity >< nonentity
     conformist / nonconformist

Antonyms made by adding the prefix in-
tolerant >< intolerant
     discreet >< indiscreet
     decent >< indecent

From AHTD 
A word having a meaning opposite to that of another word:
     The word wet is an antonym of the word dry.

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Grammar n. Abbr. aor. 1. A form of a verb in some languages, such as Classical Greek, that expresses action without indicating its completion or continuation. 2. A form of a verb in some languages, such as Classical Greek or Sanskrit, that in the indicative mood expresses past action. [From Greek aoristos indefinite, aorist tense a- not; See a- 1 horistos definable( from horizein to define) ; See horizon]

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APA style  (American Psychological Association)

From LBH
The style of documentation recommended by the American Psychological Association and used in many of the social sciences. (For discussion and examples, see pp. 841–55.)

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See: • clause • main clause • principal clause .

n. pl. apodoses
The main clause of a conditional sentence, as:

The game will be canceled in
The game will be canceled if it rains.

[Late Latin from Greek from apodidonai to give back apo- apo- didonai to give; See d ō in Indo-European Roots.]

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The superscript sign ( ' ) used to indicate the omission of a letter or letters from a word, the possessive case, and the plurals of numbers, letters, and abbreviations.

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From LBH:
Attempts to engage and persuade readers.
An emotional appeal touches readers' feelings, beliefs, and values.
An ethical appeal presents the writer as competent, sincere, and fair.
A rational appeal engages readers' powers of reasoning. (See pp. 171–73.)

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apposition (appositive)

apposition 1. A construction in which a noun or noun phrase is placed with another as an explanatory equivalent, both having the same syntactic relation to the other elements in the sentence.
appositive A word or phrase that is in apposition.:

The painter Copley was born in Boston.
Copley and the painter in the above [are in apposition].

2. The relationship between such nouns or noun phrases.

From LBH
A word or phrase appearing next to a noun or pronoun that renames or identifies it and is equivalent to it:

My brother Michael, the best horn player in town, won the state competition.
Michael identifies which brother is being referred to; the best horn player in town renames Michael).

(See pp. 280–81.)

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From LBH
Writing whose primary purpose is to convince readers of an idea or persuade them to act. (See Chapters 6–7.)

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See • article  • zero article

From LBH

The word a, an, or the. Articles are sometimes called determiners because they always signal that a noun follows. (See pp. 356–58 for when to use a/an versus the. See p. 925 for when to use a versus an.)

From UseE 

A, AN, and THE are called ARTICLES.

THE is the Definite Article
A and AN are both used for the Indefinite Article
"The boy" refers to a definite, particular boy, but "A boy" refers to no particular boy; it could be any boy.

When no article is used, it is sometimes referred to as the Zero Article.
Articles belong to a group of words which are known as Determiners they restrict or specify a noun in some way.

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article 090102

An article is a word that combines with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun, and to specify the volume or numerical scope of that reference. The articles in the English language are the and a (with variant form an). An article is sometimes called a noun marker, although this is generally considered to be an archaic term.

Articles are traditionally considered to form a separate part of speech. They can be also thought of as a special kind of adjective, because they combine with a noun and contribute to the meaning of the noun phrase. Linguists place them in the category of determiners.

Articles can have various functions:

The cat is on the red mat.
A cat is a mammal.
French: Voulez-vous du café ? ("Would you like some coffee?" or "Do you want coffee?")

Logic of definite articles

In English, a definite article is mostly used to refer to an object or person that has been previously introduced. For example:

At last they came to a piece of rising ground, from which they plainly distinguished, sleeping on a distant mountain, a mammoth bear.... Then they requested the eldest to try and slip the belt over the bear's head.
— Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, appendix D

In this example, a bear becomes the bear because a "mammoth bear" had been previously introduced into the narrative, and no other bear was involved in the story. Only previously introduced subjects like "y" or unique subjects, where the speaker can assume that the audience is aware of the identity of the referent (The heart has its reasons) typically take definite articles in English.

By contrast, the indefinite article is used in situations where a new subject is being introduced, and the speaker assumes that the hearer is not yet familiar with the subject:

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
— A traditional nursery rhyme

Reflecting its historical derivation from the number word one, the English indefinite article can only be used with singular count nouns. For mass nouns, or for plurals, adjectives or adjective phrases like some or a few substitute for it. In English, pronouns, nouns already having another non-number determiner, and proper nouns usually do not use articles. Otherwise in English, unlike many other languages, singular count nouns take an article; either a, an, or the.[4] Also in English word order, articles precede any adjectives which modify the applicable noun.

In French, the masculine definite article le (meaning the) is contracted with a following word if that word begins with a vowel sound. When the French words de and le are to be used sequentially (meaning of the), the word du is used instead, in addition to the above mentioned use of du as a partitive article.

In various languages other than English, the form of the article may vary according to the grammatical gender, number or case of the noun it combines with. Many languages do not use articles at all, and may use other ways of indicating old vs. new information, such as topic-comment constructions.


The word the is the only definite article of the English language. It is also the most frequently used word in the English language.

The article "the" is used with singular and plural, countable and uncountable nouns when both the speaker and listener know the thing or idea already. The article the is often used as the very first part of a noun phrase in English. For example:

The end of time begins now.

Here, "the end of time", is a noun phrase. The use of the signals that the reference is to a specific and unique instance of the concept (such as person, object, or idea) expressed in the noun phrase. Here, the implication is that there is one end of time, and that it has arrived.

The time is 3:29 PM.

There are many times, but the meaning here is the time now, of which (at the moment the sentence was produced) there is only one.


Linguists believe that the common ancestor of the Indo-European languages (i.e., the Proto-Indo-European language) did not have a definite article. Most of the languages in this family do not have definite or indefinite articles; there is no article in Latin, Sanskrit, Persian, nor in some modern Indo-European languages, especially in Slavic languages - Russian, Slovak and Czech, etc., nor in the Baltic languages - Latvian, Lithuanian and Latgalian. (The only Slavic languages that have articles are Bulgarian and Macedonian.) Errors with the use of the and other determiners are common in people learning English (e.g., native Czech-speaker Ivana Trump, first wife of Donald Trump, referring to him as "the Donald"). Classical Greek has a definite article, but Homeric Greek did not. In the etymologies of these and many other languages, the definite article arose by a demonstrative pronoun or adjective changing its usage; compare the fate of the Latin demonstrative "ille" (meaning "that") in the Romance languages, becoming French le, la, , and les, Spanish el, la, lo, los, and las, Italian il, la, lo, , i, gli, and le, and Portuguese o, os, a, and as.

The and that are common developments from the same Old English system. Old English had a definite article se, in the masculine gender, seo (feminine), and þæt (neuter). In Middle English these had all merged into þe, the ancestor of the Modern English word the.

In Middle English the (þe) was frequently abbreviated as a þ with a small e above it, similar to the abbreviation for that, which was a þ with a small t above it. During the latter Middle English and Early Modern English periods, the letter Thorn (þ) in its common script, or cursive, form came to resemble a y shape. As such the use of a y with an e above it as an abbreviation became common. This can still be seen in reprints of the 1611 edition of the King James Version of the Bible in places such as Romans 15:29, or in the Mayflower Compact. Note that the article was never pronounced with a y sound, even when so written.

UKT: More in the original article.

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UKT: The word <aspect> has many meanings, e.g. in grammar (according to AHTD) it is a "category of the verb designating primarily the relation of the action to the passage of time, especially in reference to completion, duration, or repetition." See my notes on Grammatical aspect.

aspect n. 1. A particular look or facial expression; mien: “ He was serious of aspect but wholly undistinguished ” Louis Auchincloss  2. Appearance to the eye, especially from a specific vantage point. 3. A way in which something can be viewed by the mind: looked at all aspects of the situation. See note at phase . 4. A position facing or commanding a given direction; exposure. 5. A side or surface facing in a particular direction: the ventral aspect of the body. 6. a. The configuration of the stars or planets in relation to one another. b. This configuration, thought by astrologers to influence human affairs. 7. Grammar A category of the verb designating primarily the relation of the action to the passage of time, especially in reference to completion, duration, or repetition. 8. Archaic An act of looking or gazing. [Middle English from Latin aspectus a view, from past participle of aspicere to look at ad- ad- specere to look; See spek- in Indo-European Roots.]

From UseE 
in a Verb shows whether the action or state is complete or not:

She's doing a crossword puzzle. (incomplete - progressive aspect)

They've washed up. (complete - perfect aspect)

The progressive aspect is often called 'continuous'.

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See • claim.

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From LBH
A stated or unstated belief or opinion. Uncovering assumptions is part of critical thinking, reading, and writing (see pp. 131–32). In argument, assumptions connect claims and evidence (see pp. 150–51).

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attributive adjective 

From UseE
An Attributive Adjective comes before a Noun and not after a Copula Verb, like BE, SEEM, etc.

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From LBH
The intended readers of a piece of writing. Knowledge of the audience's needs and expectations helps a writer shape writing so that it is clear, interesting, and convincing. (See pp. 10–14, 171–74.)

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auxiliary verb

See • helping verb  • linking verb

From EnPlus :
An auxiliary verb combines with another verb to help form the tense, mood, voice, or condition of the verb it combines with. Common auxiliary verbs in English:
   • to have • to be • to do • will • shall • would
   • should • can • may • might • could

• Auxiliary verbs are sometimes called helping verbs.
are is the auxiliary verb in the passive verb phrase are called.

Auxiliary or helping verbs are verbs that are used to help form verb phrases but cannot do so independently. There are four basic auxiliary verb groups: 1.  to be  2.  to have  3.  modal auxiliaries  4.  to do

1. to be
This auxiliary verb is used in the progressive tenses and passive voice:

• Progressive tense :

You are kicking.
You were kicking.
You have been kicking.

• Passive voice :

You are kicked.
You were kicked.
You have been kicked.

2. to have
This verb is used as an auxiliary in the perfect tense:

I have finished my paper.
I had finished my paper.
I have been finished with my paper.

3. modal auxiliaries
These auxiliaries affect the mood of the verb; that is, they determine whether a verb is a fact, desire, possibility, or command. They are most commonly used to represent degrees of freedom or severity. Most common modal auxiliaries:
   • will • shall • can • may • need (to) • dare
   • would • should • could • might • must • ought (to)

I can run. -- ability
I must run. -- necessity
I ought to run. -- obligation
I may run.  -- permission

to do
This verb is used when the main verb of the sentence requires aid of an auxiliary, but there is no other helping verb that will fit. It is often used in questions, negative or emphatic statements:

Does he drive?
He drives, doesn't he? 
   UKT: no is not part of the verb.
Despite his flat tire he does drive.


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UKT notes

English roots

From: The Roots of English, Freelance Writers, Editors, and Web Site Designers, Tameri Publications, 3738 S. Mooney Blvd., PMB 306, Visalia,  CA 93277, www.tameri.com/edit/roots.html Last updated on: 09-Aug-2002 by Adam Long, Erin Coker
Copyright © 1999 Tameri Publications

One of the best things for any writer to do is expand his or her vocabulary. Writing that relies upon a limited set of words becomes tiresome for readers -- unless the book is by Dr. Seuss.

The quickest way to add variety to the vocabulary of a work is to buy a thesaurus or use one included with your word processor. Readers learn new words through context, assuming a writer does not overuse this power. One tip: do not replace a word with a word you do not know.

Writers wanting to expand their vocabularies should consider the following:
1. Read anything, especially articles on topics with which they lack familiarity;
2. Work crossword puzzles, without using crossword dictionaries;
3. Play games such as Scrabble® to exercise vocabulary and spelling; and
4. Learn the origin of many English words, also known as "roots." 

Uncovering Roots
Words are composed of roots: prefixes, suffixes, and bases. The English language borrows roots from dozens of other languages. The most common roots come from the Latin and Greek languages.

Latin Prefixes
Prefixes are beginnings of words; the word "prefix" means "added before" or "affixed to the front." In the following chart, prefixes following a semicolon are uncommon.

Prefix Meaning Example Definition
a, ab from, not absent away from
ad; ac, ag, al, at to, toward adhere stick to
ante before antecedent one's ancestry, past life 
bi two, halves bisect to cut into two pieces
cent; centi hundred or hundredth centimeter one hundredth of a meter
circum; circ around, round circumvent to surround or circle around
com; col, con, cor together, with combine, collate unite, join, mix together, to gather together in proper order
con opposite, away from contrary opposed, opposite in nature
contra, counter against, opposed to counterpart one's opposite
de from, down descend to come down or go down
dis; di, dif apart, from, not disengage to release or loosen, not in gear
e, ex; ec, ef out, from expand to move outward
extra beyond, outside extraterrestrial from beyond the earth (terra = earth)
il, im, in, ir in, into, or not irreplaceable not replaceable
inter between interpersonal between two or more people
intra within intramural within the limits of a city or college
mill thousand millennium a thousand years
multi many multifaceted having many sides or faces
non not nonsense without logic
ob, op; oc, of in front of, against opposition either philosophically or physically aligned against another
omni all, every omniscient having complete or infintite knowladge
per through, by perennial lasting through a year
post after postpone to put off
pre before prehistoric before written records
pro in favor of, forward propel to move forward
re back, again revise to look at again
se apart seclude to keep apart
semi half semiannual every half year
sub; suc, suf, sug, sum under, before submarine beneath the ocean
super, sur above, over supervisor looking over or looking from above
trans across, beyond transport to move from a location
tri three triumvirate three men ruling one government
ultra beyond ultraviolet light waves beyond the visible spectrum
un, unus, una, unum, o one unanimous  of one opinion or mind
vice in place of viceroy a governor or ruler acting in place of or on behalf of a monarch

Latin Verb Roots
Many English words are derived from Latin verb roots. While their roots are verbs these English words can be any part of speech.

Root Meaning Example Definition
ag, act, ig do, act, drive react to act or do again
au, aud hear, sound audible something loud enough to be heard
cap, capt, cept, cip take, seize, hold capture to take by force or surprise
ced, cess go, yield recession going back or receding
cide to kill, cut down, or murder homicide a killing of one human being by another
claus, clud, clus shut, close conclude  to bring to a close or ending
cred believe, true credible  believable, reliable
cur, curs run cursory hastily done
God God or Goddess
dic, dict say, speak dictate to speak or read aloud
duc, duct lead, draw deduce to solve or trace the derivation or origin of
fac, fact, fy make, do manufacture the making of goods or articles by hand or by machine
fer bear, carry transfer to carry from one person or place to another
fract, frag, frang break fragment  to break into pieces
grad, gress, gred go, walk, step ingress to step into, enter; the act of entering
jac, jact, ject throw, cast reject to discard or throw out
jug, junct join junction a joining or being joined
leg, lect read lecture to give a prepared informative talk to an audience
loqu, locut speak, talk elucidate to make clear, explain
mir to look at, to wonder at mirage anything that does no exist
mit, miss send, cast remit to send back, to include in a response back 
pell, puls drive repulse to drive back, repel
pend, pems hang, weigh depend to rely on for support or aid
pon, pos, posit put, place position to put in a specific place
port, portat carry, bear transport to carry from one place to another
rupt break interrupt  to break into or in upon
sci to know science knowladge based on observed facts
scrib, script write transcribe to write out or type out in full
sect cut dissect to cut in half
sequ, secut follow, behind sequence to arrange in a specific order based on a logical succession
spec, spic, spect see, look at inspect to look at carefully, especially in order to detect flaws
sta, sist, stat stand resist to stand firm against, fend off
tang, tact touch contact to get in touch with
tend, tens, tent stretch, strain extend to stretch out, enlarge
tort, tor, torqu twist, turn torture to twist or distort a meaning; to cause pain
trah, tract draw retract to draw back or in, to withdraw
ven, vent come, arrive invent to devise or create for the first time
vert, vers turn revert to go back in action, thought, speech, or condition
vid, vis see, look at visualize to form a mental image of
viv, vic, vict live revive to come or bring back to life
voc call, speak vocalize to express with the voice
volv, volut turn around, roll revolve to rotate or spin

Common Greek Roots

Root Meaning Example Definition
a, an not anarchy without structure or form
anti against antithesis opposite in theory
archeos ancient, old, original archaeology scientific study of the people, customs, and life of ancient times
auto self autobiography telling the story of one's life
biblio books, of books bibliography a list of books, articles, etc., about a particular subject or person
bio life biology the science of life
caco bad, poor, evil cacophony succession of harsh, lashing sounds
chron time chronological in order of time
dec ten decimal based upon portions of ten or tenths
dem people demographics the representations of people through statistics
derm, derma skin hypodermic under the skin
eu well, good euphoric to have a good sensation or to be of good humor
exo outside, outer part exogamy custom of marrying only outside of one's own tribe or group
ge earth geography to mark or record land formations
gen race, kind genus any group of similar things
graph write, draw telegraph  to draw remotely
hemo blood hemorrhage discharge of blood
hiero sacred, holy hieroglyphics picture, character or symbol standing for a word, idea or sound
hyper over, extremely hyperbole an exaggerated statement used especially as a figure of speech for rhetorical effect
hypo under, in smaller measure hypocrisy pretending to be what one is not
ideo idea ideologue person occuied with ideas
log, logy speech, reason logical with sound reason, demonstrable
metr, meter measure metric any measurement system
micro small microscope a tool for viewing items too small to be seen with the naked eye
miso to hate misogyny hatred of women
necro physical death, corpse necropolis cemetary
olig few, scant, small oligarchy few people have the ruling power in a form of government
ology to discuss formally geology to study the origins of land and soil
pan all panorama a wide, unbroken view of a surrounding region
peri around perimeter the outer boundary of a surface or figure
phage eating, destroying phagocytosis process in which a cell surrounds and consumes another cell or solid matter
phil loving philanthropic charitable
phob fear, dread phobia a persistent, abnormal, or irrational fear of a certain thing
phon sound phonetic of or having to do with speech sounds
polis city metropolis a large city
poly many polygon a multi-sided object or form 
pseudo false, fake pseudonym a fictitious name used by by an author instead of his or her real name
pyr fire pyromaniac person who has an uncontrollable desire to set things on fire
tele distant, away telegram messege sent by telegraph

Common Suffixes
Like prefixes, suffixes are roots added to "base" words. 

Suffix Meaning Example Definition
able, ible capable of terrible causing great fear
ance, ence act or state of pestilence infectious or contagious epidemic disease that spreads rapidly
ant, ent one who, pertaining to ambivalent acting in different ways
cer one who, pertaining to dancer one who dances
dom quality of, state of kingdom nation ruled by a king
ee one who is employee one who is employed
en to make fasten to fasten
ess female princess daughter of a king or queen
ful full of, characterized by hopeful optimistic
hood quality of, state of motherhood being a mother
ian one who, pertaining to Martian a being from Mars
ion, tion action, state of, result of attention state of focus
ish like, similar to childish acting like a child
ity quality of, state of purity state of cleanliness
less without worthless having no value
ly in the manner of happily in a cheerful way
ment action, state of, result of containment trapped without escape
ness quality of, state of greatness being extraordinary
or one who, pertaining to vendor person who sells
ous, y full of, characterized by dangerous unsafe
ship skill, state, quality friendship state of trust
tude quality of, state of multitude large number of something


Value Latin Example Greek Example
one unus, uni union monos, mono monologue
two bi, duo bicycle di dichotomy
three tri triangle    
four quad, quar quartet    
five quint quintet penta pentagon
six sex sextet hex hexagon
seven sept   hepta heptagon
eight     oct octagon
nine     non nonagon
ten     deca decagon
hundred     cent century
thousand     kilo kilogram
many     poly polygon

The Body

body corpus
head caput
arm bracchium, armare
leg crus
foot ped
hand manus
eye oculus
mouth bucca
skin cutis, pellis
tooth dens
ear auricilla, auris, spicus
hair capillus, capillago
blood sanguis

Last updated on: 09-Aug-2002 by Adam Long, Erin Coker . Copyright © 1999 Tameri Publications

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Grammatical aspect

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_aspect 080709

In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb defines the temporal flow (or lack thereof) in the described event or state. For example, in English the difference between I swim and I am swimming is a difference of aspect.

Aspect, as discussed here, is a formal property of a language. Some languages distinguish a large number of formal aspects (see the list below), while others distinguish none at all. Even languages that do not mark aspect formally, however, can convey such distinctions by the use of adverbs, phrases, serial verb constructions or other means.

Grammatical aspect may have been first dealt with in the work of the Indian linguist Yaska (ca. 7th century BCE), who distinguishes actions that are processes (bhāva), from those where the action is considered as a completed whole (mūrta). This is of course the key distinction between the imperfective and perfective. Yaska applies the same distinction also for between a verb and an action nominal.

Common aspectual distinctions
The most fundamental aspectual distinction, represented in many languages, is between perfective aspect and imperfective aspect. This is the basic aspectual distinction in the Slavic languages. It semantically corresponds to the distinction between the tenses known respectively as the aorist and imperfect in Greek, the preterite and imperfect in Spanish, the simple past (passé simple) and imperfect in French, and the perfect and imperfect in Latin. Essentially, the perfective aspect refers to a single event conceived as a unit, while the imperfective aspect represents an event in the process of unfolding or a repeated or habitual event. In the past tense, the distinction often coincides with the distinction between the simple past "X-ed", as compared to the progressive "was X-ing". For example, the perfective would translate both verbs in the sentence "He raised his sword and struck the enemy". However, in the sentence "As he was striking the enemy, he was killed by an arrow", the first verb would be rendered by an imperfective and the second by a perfective.

Aspect vs. tense
Aspect is a somewhat difficult concept to grasp for the speakers of most modern Indo-European languages, because they tend to conflate the concept of aspect with the concept of tense. (The two concepts are, however, mostly independent in the modern Slavic languages and other Eastern Indo-European languages, such as Greek.) Although English largely separates tense and aspect formally, its aspects (neutral, progressive, perfect and progressive perfect) do not correspond very closely to the distinction of perfective vs. imperfective that is common in most other languages. Furthermore, the separation of tense and aspect in English is not maintained rigidly. One instance of this is the alternation, in some forms of English, between sentences such as "Have you eaten yet?" and "Did you eat yet?". Another is in the past perfect ("I had eaten"), which sometimes represents the combination of past tense and perfect aspect ("I was full because I had already eaten"), but sometimes simply represents a past action which is anterior to another past action ("A little while after I had eaten, my friend arrived"). (The latter situation is often represented in other languages by a simple perfective tense. Formal Spanish and French use a past anterior tense in cases such as this.)

Interlingua, which was developed and standardized to be grammatically simple, has no aspects. Its verb tenses are similar to those of English and the Romance languages, but without irregularities. Speakers can use verbs and adverbs to express the meanings of various aspects: Illa continua scriber 'She continues to write', Ille ora arriva, 'He is now arriving', literally 'He now arrives'.

In most dialects of Ancient Greek, aspect is indicated uniquely by tense. For example, the very frequently used aorist tense, though a functional preterite tense in the indicative mood, conveys historic or 'immediate' aspect in the subjunctive and optative. The perfect tense in all moods is used solely as an aspect marker and not, ironically, as a tense, conveying the sense of a resultant state. E.g. ὅραω - I see (present); εἶδον - I saw (aorist); οἶδα - I am in a state of having seen = I know (perfect).

Many Sino-Tibetan languages, like Mandarin, are devoid of tense but rich in particles which function as aspect markers.

Lexical vs. grammatical aspect
It is extremely important to distinguish between grammatical aspect, as described here, and lexical aspect. Lexical aspect is an inherent property of verbs, and is not marked formally in most languages. The distinctions made as part of lexical aspect are different from those of grammatical aspect, usually relating to situation aspect rather than viewpoint aspect. Typical distinctions are between states ("I have"), activities ("I shop") and achievements ("I buy"). These distinctions are often relevant syntactically. For example, states and activities, but not usually achievements, can be used with a prepositional for-phrase describing a time duration: "I had a car for five hours", "I shopped for five hours", but not "*I bought a car for five hours". Lexical or situation aspect is sometimes called Aktionsart, especially by German and Slavic linguists. Lexical or situation aspect is marked in Athabaskan languages.

One of the factors in situation aspect is telicity. Telicity might be considered a kind of lexical aspect, except that it is typically not a property of a verb in isolation, but rather a property of an entire verb phrase. Achievements and accomplishments have telic situation aspect, while states, activities and semelfactives have atelic situation aspect.

The other factor in situation aspect is duration, which is also a property of a verb phrase. Accomplishments, states, and activities have duration, while achievements and semelfactives do not.

Usage of aspects
In some languages, aspect and time are very clearly separated, making them much more distinct to their speakers. There are a number of languages that mark aspect much more saliently than time. Prominent in this category is Chinese, which differentiates many aspects but relies exclusively on (optional) time-words to pinpoint an action with respect to time. In other language groups, for example in most modern Indo-European languages (except Slavic languages), aspect has become almost entirely conflated, in the tense system, with time.

In Russian, aspect is more salient than tense in narrative. Russian, like other Slavic languages, uses different lexical entries for the different aspects, whereas other languages mark them morphologically, and still others with auxiliaries (e.g., English).

Arabic shows a contrast between dynamic and static aspect. For example, the concepts 'ride' and 'mount' are shown by forms of the same verb rukūbun, static (rakiba) in the former case and dynamic (yarkabu) in the latter.

Aspect can mark the stage of an action. The inchoative identifies that the action is soon to take place. The inceptive aspect identifies the beginning stage of an action (e.g. Esperanto uses ek-, e.g. Mi ekmanĝas, "I am beginning to eat."). Aspects of stage continue through progressive, pausative, resumptive, cessive, and terminative.

Important qualifications:

1. Although the perfective is often thought of as representing a "momentary action", this is not strictly correct. It can equally well be used for an action that took time, as long as it is conceived of as a unit, with a clearly defined start and end, such as "Last summer I visited France".

2. Grammatical aspect represents a formal distinction encoded in the grammar of a language. Although languages that are described as having imperfective and perfective aspects will agree in most cases in their usage of these aspects, no two languages will agree in every situation. For example:

• Some languages have additional grammatical aspects. Spanish and Ancient Greek, for example, have a perfect aspect (not the same as the perfective), which refers to a state resulting from a previous action (also described as a previous action with relevance to a particular time, or a previous action viewed from the perspective of a later time). This corresponds (roughly) to the "have X-ed" construction in English, as in "I have recently eaten". Languages that lack this aspect (such as Portuguese, which is closely related to Spanish) often use the past perfective to render the present perfect (compare the roughly synonymous English sentences "Have you eaten yet?" and "Did you eat yet?").

• In some languages, the formal representation of aspect is optional, and can be omitted when the aspect is clear from context or does not need to be emphasized. This is the case, for example, in Mandarin Chinese, with the perfective suffix le and (especially) the imperfective zhe.

• For some verbs in some languages, the difference between perfective and imperfective conveys an additional meaning difference; in such cases, the two aspects will typically be translated using separate verbs in English. In Greek, for example, the imperfective sometimes adds the notion of "try to do something" (the so-called conative imperfect); hence the same verb, in the imperfective (present or imperfect tense) and aorist, respectively, is used to convey look and see, search and find, listen and hear. (For example, ηκουομεν ēkouomen "we listened" vs. ηκουσαμεν ēkousamen "we heard".) Spanish has similar pairs for certain verbs, such as (imperfect and preterite, respectively) sabía "I knew" vs. supe "I found out", podía "I was able to" vs. pude "I succeeded (in doing something)", quería "I wanted to" vs. quise "I tried to", no quería "I did not want to" vs. no quise "I refused (to do something)". Such differences are often highly language-specific.

Aspect in English

According to one prevalent account, the English tense system has only two basic times, present and past. No primitive future tense exists in English; the futurity of an event is expressed through the use of the auxiliary verbs "will" and "shall", by use of a present form, as in "tomorrow we go to Newark", or by some other means. Present and past, in contrast, can be expressed using direct modifications of the verb, which may be modified further by the progressive aspect (also called the continuous aspect), the perfect aspect (also called the completed aspect), or both. Each tense is named according to its combination of aspects and time. These two aspects are also referred to as BE + ING (for the first) and as HAVE +EN (for the second). Although a little unwieldy, such tags allow us to avoid the suggestion that uses of the aspect BE + ING always have a "progressive" or "continuous" meaning, which they do not.

For the present tense:

• Present Simple (not progressive/continuous, not perfect; simple):
   "I eat"

• Present Progressive (progressive, not perfect):
   "I am eating"

• Present Perfect (not progressive, perfect):
   "I have eaten"

• Present Perfect Progressive (progressive, perfect):
   "I have been eating"

For the past tense:

• Past Simple (not progressive/continuous, not perfect; simple):
   "I ate"

• Past Progressive (progressive, not perfect):
   "I was eating"

• Past Perfect (not progressive, perfect):
   "I had eaten"

• Past Perfect Progressive (progressive, perfect):
   "I had been eating"

(Note that, while many elementary discussions of English grammar would classify the Present Perfect as a past tense, from the standpoint of strict linguistics – and that elucidated here – it is clearly a species of the present, as we cannot say of someone now deceased that he "has eaten" or "has been eating"; the present auxiliary implies that he is in some way present (alive), even if the action denoted is completed (perfect) or partially completed (progressive perfect).)

The uses of these two aspects are quite complex. They may refer to the viewpoint of the speaker:

I was walking down the road when I met Michael Jackson's lawyer. (Speaker viewpoint in middle of action)
I have travelled widely, but I have never been to Moscow. (Speaker viewpoint at end of action)

But they can have other meanings:

You are being stupid now. (You are doing it deliberately)
You are not having chocolate with your sausages! (I forbid it)
I am having lunch with Mike tomorrow. (It is decided)

Another aspect that does survive in English, but that is no longer productive, is the frequentative, which conveys the sense of continuously repeated action; while prominent in Latin, it is omitted from most discussions of English grammar, as it suggests itself only by Scandinavian suffixes no longer heard independently from the words to which they are affixed (e.g., "blabber" for "blab", "chatter" for "chat", "dribble" for "drip", "crackle" for "crack", etc.).

Note that the aspectual systems of certain dialects of English, such as Hawaiian Creole English and African-American Vernacular English, are quite different from standard English, and often distinguish aspect at the expense of tense.

Aspect in Slavic languages
In Slavic languages there is only one type of aspectual opposition which forms two grammatical aspects: perfective and imperfective (in contrast with English which has two aspectual oppositions: perfect vs. neutral and progressive vs. nonprogressive). The aspectual distinctions exist on the lexical level - there is no unique method to form a perfective verb from a given imperfective one (or conversely).

With a few exceptions each Slavic verb is either perfective or imperfective. Most verbs form strict pairs of one perfective and one imperfective verb with generally the same meaning. However, each Slavic language contains a number of verbs which are bi-aspectual and act as both imperfective and perfective. They are mainly borrowings from non-Slavic languages, but some native verbs also belong to this group. As opposed to them, mono-aspectual verbs are mainly native. There are mono-aspectual imperfective verbs without perfective equivalents (among others, verbs with the meaning 'to be' and 'to have') as well as perfective verbs without imperfective equivalents (for instance, verbs with the meaning 'become ...', e.g. 'to become paralyzed', etc.).

The perfective aspect allows the speaker to describe the action as finished, completed, finished in the natural way. The imperfective aspect does not present the action as finished, but rather as pending or ongoing.

An example is the verb 'to eat' in the Serbo-Croatian language. The verb translates either as jesti (imperfective) or pojesti (perfective). Now, both aspects could be used in the same tense of Serbian. For example (omitting, for simplicity, feminine forms like jela):

Ja sam pojeo signals that the action was completed. Its meaning can be given as "I ate (something) and I finished eating (it)"; or "I ate (something) up".

Ja sam jeo signals that the action took place (at a specified moment, or in the course of one's life, or every day, etc.); it may mean "I was eating", "I ate" or "I have been eating".

The following examples are from Polish.

Imperfective verbs mean:

• actions in progress, just ongoing states and activities, with significant course (in opinion of the speaker);
• activities posing the background for other (perfective) activities, ex. czytałem książkę, gdy zadzwonił telefon 'I was reading the book when the telephone rang';
• simultaneous activities, ex. będę czytać książkę, podczas gdy brat będzie pisać list 'I will be reading the book while brother will be writing the letter';
• durative activities, lasting through some time, e.g. krzyczał 'he was shouting', będzie drgać 'it will be vibrating';
• motions without a strict aim, ex. chodzę 'I am walking here and there';
• multiple (iterative) activities, ex. dopisywać 'to insert many times to the text', będziemy wychodziły 'we will go out (many times)';
• non-resultative activities, only heading towards some purpose: będę pisał list 'I will be writing the letter';
• continuous states, ex. będę stać 'I will be standing'.

Perfective verbs mean past or future, but not present activities – an activity which is happening now cannot be ended, so it cannot be perfective. Perfective verbs mean:

• states and activities which were ended (even if a second ago) or which will be ended, with insignificant course, short or treated as a whole by the speaker, ex. krzyknął 'he shouted', drgnie 'it will stir';
• single-time activities, ex. dopisać 'to insert to the text', wyszedł 'he has gone out';
• actions whose goals have already been achieved, even if with difficulty, ex. przeczytałem 'I have read', doczytała się 'she finished reading and found what she had sought';
• reasons for the state, ex. pokochała 'she came to love', zrozumiesz 'you (sg.) will understand', poznamy 'we will get to know';
• the beginning of the activity or the state, ex. wstanę 'I will stand up' (and I will stand), zaczerwienił się 'he reddened';
• the end of the activity or the state, ex. dośpiewaj 'sing until the end';
• activities executed in many places, on many objects or by many subjects at the same time, ex. powynosił 'he carried out (many things)', popękają 'they will break out in many places', poucinać 'to cut off many items';
• actions or states which last some time, ex. postoję 'I will stand for a little time', pobył 'he was (there) for some time'.

Most simple Polish verbs are imperfective (the same in other Slavic languages), ex. iść 'to walk, to go', nieść 'to carry', pisać 'to write'. But there are also few simple perfective verbs, ex. dać 'to give', siąść 'to sit down'. There exist many perfective verbs with suffixes and without prefixes, ex. krzyknąć 'to shout', kupić 'to buy' (cf. the imperfective kupować with a different suffix).

Numerous perfective verbs are formed from simple imperfectives by prefixation. To create the perfective counterpart, verbs use various prefixes without any clear rules. The actual prefix can even depend on a dialect or special meaning, ex. the perfective counterpart to malować is pomalować when it means 'to paint a wall', or namalować when it means 'to paint a picture'.

Besides the strict perfective equivalent, a number of other prefixed verbs may be formed from a given simple imperfective verb. They all have similar but distinct meaning. And they form, as a rule, their own imperfective equivalents by means of suffixation (attaching suffixes) or stem alternation. Example:

• prać 'to wash / clean clothes with water and soap / washing powder' is a simple imperfective verb;
• uprać is its perfective counterpart while doprać, przeprać, oprać are other derived perfective verbs with a little different meanings;
• dopierać, przepierać, opierać are secondary imperfective verbs which are counterparts for doprać, przeprać, oprać respectively; *upierać does not exist because the basic verb prać is the imperfective counterpart of uprać.

There is a number of verbs which form their aspectual counterparts by simultaneous prefixation and suffixation or by suppletion, ex. (the first one is imperfective) stawiać - postawić 'to set up', brać - wziąć 'to take', widzieć - zobaczyć 'to see'.

Special imperfective verbs are those which express aimless motions. They are mono-aspectual, i.e. they have no perfective equivalents. They are formed from other imperfective verbs by stem alternations or suppletion, ex. nosić 'to carry around' (from nieść), chodzić 'to walk around, to go around' (from iść 'to go, to walk'). However, when such a verb gets an aim anyway, it becomes iterative: chodzić do szkoły 'to go to school'.

Other iteratives build another group of mono-aspectual imperfective verbs. They are formed from other imperfective verbs, including the previous group: chadzać 'to walk around usually (from chodzić), jadać 'to eat usually' (from jeść 'to eat'). Both groups are not too numerous: most Polish verbs cannot form iterative counterparts.

Perfective verbs which express activities executed in many places, on many objects or by many subjects at the same time, and those which express actions or states which last some time, have no imperfective counterparts. They are formed with the prefix po- (which can have other functions as well).

States and activities which last for some time can be expressed by means of both imperfective and perfective verbs: cały dzień leżał w łóżku 'he was in bed all day long' (literally: 'he lay in bed') means nearly the same as cały dzień przeleżał w łóżku. The difference is mainly stylistic: imperfective is neutral here, while using perfective causes stronger tone of the statement.

Aspect in Slavic is a superior category in relation to tense or mood. Particularly, some verbal forms (like infinitive) cannot distinguish tense but they still distinguish aspect. Here is the list of Polish verb forms which can be formed by both imperfective and perfective verbs (such a list is similar in other Slavic languages). The example is an imperfective and a perfective Polish verb with the meaning 'to write'. All personal forms are given in third person, masculine singular:

• infinitive: pisać - napisać;
• passive participle: pisany - napisany;
• gerund: pisanie - napisanie;
• past impersonal form: pisano - napisano;
• past impersonal form in subjunctive: pisano by - napisano by;
• past tense: pisał - napisał;
• future tense: będzie pisać / będzie pisał - napisze;
• conditional, first form: pisałby - napisałby;
• conditional, second form: byłby pisał - byłby napisał;
• imperative: pisz - napisz.

The following may be formed only if the verb is imperfective:

• contemporary adverbial participle – pisząc;
• active participle – piszący;
• present tense – pisze.

One form may be created only if the verb is perfective, namely:

• anterior adverbial participle – napisawszy.

Aspect in Finnic languages
Finnish and Estonian, among others, have a grammatical aspect contrast of telicity between telic and atelic. Telic sentences signal that the intended goal of an action is achieved. Atelic sentences do not signal whether any such goal has been achieved. The aspect is indicated by the case of the object: accusative is telic and partitive is atelic. For example, the (implicit) purpose of shooting is to kill, such that:

• Ammuin karhun -- "I shot the bear (succeeded; it is done)"; i.e., "I shot the bear dead".
• Ammuin karhua -- "I shot at the bear"; i.e., "I shot the bear (and I am not telling if it died)".

Sometimes, corresponding telic and atelic forms have as little to do with each other semantically as "take" has with "take off". For example, naida means "to marry" when telic, but "to have sex with" when atelic.

Also, derivational suffixes exist for various aspects. Examples:

• -ahta- "do suddenly by itself" as in ammahtaa "to shoot up" from ampua "to shoot"
• -ele- "repeatedly" as in ammuskella "to go shooting around"

There are derivational suffixes for verbs, which carry frequentative, momentane, causative, and inchoative aspect meanings; also, pairs of verbs differing only in transitivity exist.

Confusing terminology: perfective vs. perfect 

(Wiki's note: This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject.)
The terms perfective and perfect are used in an unfortunate and highly confusing fashion in different writings about linguistics. Traditional Greek grammar uses the term "perfect" to refer to a grammatical tense encoding what is variously described as a past action with present relevance or a present state resulting from a past action. (For example, "I have gone to the cinema" implies both that I went to the cinema and that I am now in the cinema.) The perfect is opposed to the aorist, describing a simple past action, and the imperfect, describing an ongoing past action. From this, the aspectual nature of the perfect tense was generalized into the perfect aspect, describing a previously completed action with relevance to a particular time. Accordingly, English grammar speaks of the present perfect ("I have gone"), the past perfect or pluperfect ("I had gone"), and the future perfect ("I will have gone").

Latin, however, lacks a distinction between aorist and perfect, and for morphological reasons the single tense representing the combination of both meanings is called the "perfect". The two-way distinction here between imperfect and perfect is carried over into the terminology of various modern languages, such as the Slavic languages and the Romance languages, where a distinction between "imperfective" and "perfective" aspect corresponds to a distinction between an event viewed as ongoing or with internal structure and an event viewed as a simple whole. That is, what is called "perfective" is similar to the aspectual nature of the original Greek aorist, not the Greek perfect.

Many linguists have tried to maintain this terminology. The web site of SIL International, for example, describes the "perfective aspect" as "an aspect that expresses a temporal view of an event or state as a simple whole, apart from the consideration of the internal structure of the time in which it occurs" (asp-fn01). This has led other linguists to categorize the three-way aspectual distinction visible in Greek, English, Spanish and various other languages as a distinction between "imperfective", "perfective" and "perfect". Not surprisingly, the latter two are constantly confused, and "perfective" is often taken to be synonymous with "perfect".

Examples of various aspects rendered in English

• Perfective (aorist, simple; see above): 'I struck the bell.' (single action)
• Perfect (sometimes confusingly called "perfective"; see above): 'I have arrived at the cinema.' (hence, I am now in the cinema)
• Progressive (continuous): 'I am eating.' (action is in progress)
• Habitual: 'I walk home from work.' (every day)
     'I would walk [OR: used to walk] home from work.' (past habit)
• Imperfective (either progressive or habitual): 'I am walking to work' (progressive) or 'I walk to work every day' (habitual).
• Prospective: 'I am about to eat' OR: 'I am going to eat."
• Recent Perfect or After Perfect: 'I just ate' OR: 'I am after eating." (Hiberno-English)
• Inceptive: 'I am beginning to eat.'
• Inchoative (not clearly distinguished from prospective): 'The apples are about to ripen.'
• Continuative: 'I am still eating.'
• Terminative: 'I am finishing my meal.'
• Conative: 'I am trying to eat.'
• Cessative: 'I am quitting smoking.'
• defective : 'I almost fell.'
• Pausative: 'I stopped working for a while.'
• Resumptive: 'I resumed sleeping.'
• Punctual: 'I slept.'
• Durative: 'I slept for an hour.'
• Delimitative: 'I slept for a while.'
• Protractive: 'The argument went on and on.'
• Iterative: 'I read the same books again and again.'
• Frequentative: 'It sparkled', contrasted with 'It sparked'. Or, 'I run around', vs. 'I run'.
• Experiential: 'I have gone to school many times.'
• Intentional: 'I listened carefully.'
• Accidental: 'I knocked over the chair.'
• Generic: 'Mangoes grow on trees.'
• Intensive: 'It glared.'
• Moderative: 'It shone.'
• Attenuative: 'It glimmered.' S
• Semelfactive (momentane): 'The mouse squeaked once.' (contrasted to 'The mouse squeaked/was squeaking.')

Wikipedia notes

asp-fn01 © 2004 SIL International asp-fn01b

Other references
• Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics (ISBN 0-415-20319-8), by Hadumod Bussmann, edited by Gregory P. Trauth and Kerstin Kazzazi, Routledge, London 1996. Translation of German Lexikon der Sprachwissenschaft Kröner Verlag, Stuttgart 1990.
• Smith, Carlota. The Parameter of Aspect. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1997.
• Morfofonologian harjoituksia, Lauri Carlson

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or preterite Grammar adj. Abbr. pret. pt. 1. Of, relating to, or being the verb tense that describes a past action or state. n. Abbr. pret. pt. 1. The verb form expressing or describing a past action or condition. 2. A verb in the preterit form. [Middle English from Old French from Latin (tempus) praeteritum past (tense) , neuter past participle of praeterīreto go by praeter beyond, comparative of prae before; See per 1 in Indo-European Roots. īre to go; See ei- in Indo-European Roots.] -- AHTD

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