Glossary

Active Voice — Transitive verbs can be written in either the active or passive voice. A sentence in the active voice will have a verb with a direct object. For example, the following sentence is in the active voice, as the verb "kicked" takes the direct object "the ball": Landon kicked the ball into the goal.

Adjective — This part of speech is used to modify or describe a noun or pronoun (for example: a red umbrella, a rainy day, a beautiful woman).

Adverb — This part of speech is used to modify or describe either a verb, a verb phrase, an adjective, or an adverb. In the following sentence, "extremely" is an adverb that modifies the adjective "fast", while "gracefully" is an adverb the modifies the verb "loped": John was an extremely fast runner, and he loped gracefully down the track.

Antecedent — A noun that is replaced by a pronoun. For example, "he" stands in for "John" in the second clause of this sentence: John was late for school, and he missed the bus.

Apostrophe — This punctuation mark (') shows the omission of letters in contractions (can't = cannot) or else shows possession (the girl's dress, the flowers' colors).

Article — The words a, an, and the are articles, which are used to identify a noun.

Clause — This group of related words contains a subject and a verb. There are two kinds of clauses: independent and dependent. An independent clause can stand alone meaningfully. A dependent clause is a fragment and cannot stand on its own as completely meaningful. For example, "As the clock struck nine" is the dependent clause in the sentence: As the clock struck nine, I opened the door.

Collective Nouns — Collective nouns – troop, family, jury, committee – name a group and are considered singular words.

Comma — This punctuation mark (,) is used to separate words or elements of a sentence.

Compound Subject — This type of subject of a sentence consists of more than one part (for example: Humans, cats, and dogs are all mammals).

Compound Verb — This type of verb in a sentence consists of more than one part (for example: Cary began making the picture frame but did not finish).

Compound Words — Through usage, two words have been combined to make one word (for example: everywhere, anywhere, himself, weekend).

Conclusion — The concluding paragraph is separate from the body paragraphs of an essay and brings closure to the essay. The conclusion grows out of the support provided in the essay, restates the thesis in other words, or sums up the main ideas of the paper.

Conjunction — This part of speech connects words and shows relationships between words or clauses. There are two kinds of conjunctions: coordinating and subordinating. Coordinating conjunctions connect elements of equal rank (such as two subjects or two independent clauses) with the words and, but, or, nor, yet, so, and for. Subordinating conjunctions connect elements that are not equal (such as an independent clause and a dependent clause) with a variety of different words and phrases. Some examples are although, because, if, since, and when.

Contraction — This word results from the combining of two words and the shortening of one word by omitting letters and adding an apostrophe (for example: cannot = can't, does not = doesn't, should not = shouldn't, it is = it's).

Dependent Clause — A dependent clause (or "subordinate" clause) is a fragment that CANNOT stand alone as a sentence (for example: although the scientist conducted a thorough experiment).

Exclamation Point — This mark of punctuation (!) at the end of a sentence indicates surprise or strong emotion.

Fragment or Missing Comma — This group of words is not a complete sentence, even though it often contains a subject and verb and sometimes starts with a capital letter or ends with a punctuation mark.

Helping Verb — This type of verb (also called an auxiliary verb) is used with a main verb in a verb phrase (for example: forms of be, have, or do and the verb can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, or would).

Hyphen — This mark (-) is used to separate the different parts of a compound word (for example: mother-in-law, all-inclusive, self-motivated, quasi-literate, anti-establishment).

Independent Clause — An independent clause has a subject and a verb and expresses a complete thought. It can stand alone as a sentence (I studied Chinese) or be combined with another independent clause to make a compound sentence (I studied Chinese in high school, and I later worked in China). It can also take a dependent clause to make a complex sentence: Although I studied Chinese in high school, I did not begin to understand Chinese culture until I worked in China.

Infinitive Verb — This form is created when the word to is added to the verb (for example: to jump, to read, to swim). Infinitive phrases can be created to serve a function in a sentence (for example: To swim the English Channel is my friend's strongest dream).

Intransitive Verb — This type of verb does not need an object to complete its meaning (for example: John ran or Bob left).

Introduction — An introduction is the first paragraph of an essay. It gives the reader an idea of what the essay is about and usually contains the thesis statement.

Main Idea — A main idea is a point in an essay about which you feel strongly. It is important to you, and you want the reader to understand this idea. Some writers like to give the reader several main ideas. The main ideas of an essay should all be related to the essay's thesis.

Modal Verb — Some verbs express mood (for example: may, might, must, can, would, should).

Noun Phrase — This type of phrase consists of several words that together function as the subject, the object, or a complement (words that rename or describe the subject). For example, in the sentence Talking to my mother at the end of my vacation gives me pleasure, "Talking to my mother" is a noun phrase that is acting as the subject.

Paragraph — This distinct section or subdivision of an essay deals with one particular point and is usually signaled by indentation of the first line.

Passive Voice — Transitive verbs have voice, and they can be written in either the active or passive voice. A sentence in the passive voice emphasizes the receiver of the action or the results of an action (for example: The jury was selected after 25 people were interviewed). A passive sentence will always include a form of "be" or "get" (was selected, must be remembered, got married).

Period — In grammar, this mark of punctuation (.) indicates the end of a sentence.

Phrase — This group of related words together perform a function in a sentence. They can act as nouns, verbs, adjectives or adverbs. For example, here is a sentence with a prepositional phrase: My cake was presented amid roaring cheers. "Amid roaring cheers" contains the preposition "amid" and describes how the presentation occurred. This phrase is functioning as an adverb.

Plural — In grammar, nouns, pronouns, and verbs can indicate "more than one" (for example: generals is a plural form of a noun, we is a plural form of a pronoun, and jump is the plural form of the verb "to jump" in the present tense).

Possessive Pronoun — Pronouns can show possession or ownership (for example: my, our, his, her, their, whose, mine, theirs).

Prefix — A syllable can be added to the beginning of another word to change its meaning. For example, adding the prefix "re" to the word "sell" changes the word meaning of sell to mean "sell again."

Preposition — This type of word connects a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase to another word, phrase, or clause of a sentence (for example: in, except for, because of, under, for, within, throughout, between). Prepositions show relation between the elements that they connect.

Pronoun — A word is used in place of a noun (for example: I, you, he, she, it, they, we).

Question Mark — This punctuation mark (?) at the end of a sentence frames it as a question (for example: Will David be coming to the party?).

Run-on Sentences — Two or more independent clauses (sentences) are incorrectly joined together into a single sentence. One type of run-on sentence is a "fused" sentence, in which independent clauses are joined together without the appropriate punctuation or a coordinating conjunction. Another type of run-on sentence uses only a comma—a "comma splice"—to join the independent clauses. A third type of run-on sentence does use coordinating conjunctions and may use some punctuation, but it is awkward because it strings together too many independent clauses.

Sentence Combining — Good writing usually contains a variety of sentence types and lengths to make it more interesting. Too many short sentences often make the writing sound choppy. Using sentence-combining techniques in the revising process can help writers improve the structure and style of an essay.

Singular — In grammar, nouns, pronouns, and verbs take a form that shows that they mean one person or one thing. For example: cart is a singular noun, he is a singular pronoun, and jumps is the singular form of the verb "to jump" in the present tense.

Subject — This word or group of words names who or what a sentence is about (for example: Stephen and his sister ran into the parking lot).

Supporting Ideas — Supporting ideas are sentences in a paragraph that help to convince the reader that a main idea is a good one.

Tense — This form of a verb indicates time. Time is either past, present, or future, so the tenses of jump are jumped, jump, and will jump.

Thesis — The thesis or thesis statement tells the main idea—or controlling idea—of the essay. It focuses on the writer's view of the topic and often answers the question: "What important or interesting things do I have to say?"

Topic Sentence — The main idea of a paragraph appears in a sentence that announces the idea. This sentence is called the topic sentence, and it sets a direction for the paragraph.

Transition Words and Phrases — These words and phrases connect ideas and signal turns in direction or an ordering of material (for example: first, in contrast, thus, on the other hand).

Transitive Verb — This type of verb requires an object to complete its meaning. For example, in the following sentence, the transitive verb "laid" is made complete by adding the object "the child": The mother laid the child on the bed.

Verb — These words express action (jumped, decided); occurrence (The rain started); or state of being (You exist, therefore you are).

Verb Phrase — Two or more words often join together to act as a complete verb (for example: may eat, may have eaten, could help, should have moved). Verb phrases are formed by linking a helping verb and the main verb.