Top Grammar Terms That English Learners Must Know

I know! I know! Grammar maybe the most boring and challenging part of a language ! It can even seem the most useless : “Classes with no grammar lessons are fun and language courses that teach grammar besides English are old and boring!” …Well, frankly speaking, it is not true ! Grammar is like a gun and words are the rounds for that gun.! A soldier can shoot only if he/she has both! 🙂 

You know from what I have heard here and there  form language learners or experienced teachers , grammar is hard to understand because of its “terminology” , I mean the words that are mostly used in teaching grammar or you can find in grammar books! I ‘d say if you do not want to teach grammar or use grammar reference books , you simple DO NOT need to know most of these words and their meaning! Most of these words not all of them! Some of them are really necessary to know because you will hear the very often in your class!

Here are 65 grammar terms that you may need:

1- Active Voice

English has two voices.In this voice the subject directly does or “acts”the verb.

eg: “Many people eat rice”

2- Adjective

A word that modifies(talks about) a noun.

eg: “It was a big cat.”

3-Adjective Claus

Also called a relative clause. It is a dependent clause that talks about a none. It usually starts with a relative pronoun.

eg: “The person who comes first can leave early”

4- Adverb

A word that talks about a verb,and adjective or another adverb.

eg: He worked carefully.

5- Adverbial Clause

It is a dependent clause that works like an adverb and shows time ,place, or reason.

eg: We can stop where you want!

6- Affirmative

It is the opposite of “negative”. A sentence that gives information with “yes” meaning.

eg: The moon is beautiful!

7- Appositive

A word or a group of words that gives more information about a noun.

“Canada, a multicultural country, has a maple leaf flag.”

8- Article

They are two kinds . Definite article(the) and indefinite article(a/an).

9- Auxiliary Verb

They are also called “helping Verbs”. They are verbs that come with the main verb and show tense and voice.

eg: I do not like you. She has finished. He can swim.

10 -Bare Infinitive

The simple form of a verb that does not show “tense” or “person”. They are verbs without the particle”to”

He should come“, “I can swim

11- Causative Verb

They are verbs that cause things to happen. “make,get, and have” are good examples.In a sentence with these verbs , the subject does not do the action but is indirectly responsible for it.

“She made me go to work”, “I had my hair cut”

12- Clause

A group of words that have a subject and its verb.Remember a sentence is a clause that can come alone with a complete meaning (Independent Clause).

13- Comparative

It is a form of an adjective or an adverb that is made with “er” or “more” . It is used to show the similarities or differences between two things.

eg: hottermore quickly

14- Compound Noun

A noun that is made of more than one word. They are written in different ways .

eg: Tooth brush, mother – in – law

15- Compound Sentence

A sentence with two or more “independent clauses”. They are joined by a conjunction.

You can have healthy food but you can’t have a pizza!

16- Conditional

They are structures in English where one action depends on another action.There are usually only three kinds of conditionals and mostly they have the word if and when.

eg: “If I win I will take you out for dinner”, “I would be happy if I got a medal”

17- Conjunction 

These are words that connect two parts of sentences.

eg: and,although,…

18- Contraction

They are made by shortening two or more than two words into one word.

eg: isn’t (is not), we’d’better (we had better)

19- Countable Noun

They are nouns(things ) that you can count like “pen,book,..”

20- Dependent Clause

They are a group of words that have their subject and verb but do not have a complete meaning and must be with another sentence.

eg : When he arrived,…

21- Direct Speech

Repeating exactly what someone has said without changing anything.Thy usually coem in “Quotation Marks : ”   “

eg: She said ” I Am Alone!”

22- Direct Object

A noun or pronoun that gets the action of the verb directly .

eg: John bought a bike.

23- Gerund

the “ing ” form of a verb that we use instead of a noun.

eg: walking is nice!

24- Imperative

Here we use the bare infinitive to give orders or commands .

eg: Please open the door!

25- Independent Clause(main clause)

A clause that has its complete meaning and can come alone.

26- Indirect Object

Something that indirectly gets the action of a verb.

eg: Mary bough her son a book.

27- Indirect Speech

Saying what someone has said without repeating exactly what he/she has said.

eg: She said she was alone.

28- Infinitive

The simple (base ) form of a verb with the particle “to”.

eg: To be or not to be,this is the question!

29- Interjection

A word that shows motion and feelings and can be used alone with an exclamation mark: !

eg: Oh my God!

30- Interrogative

The question form of a sentence.

31- Intransitive Verb

A verb that does not need an abject.

eg: I go to work by bus.

32- Inversion

Any change in the place of words in a sentence like in questions or….

eg: Is he a teacher? / Had he studied ,he would have been happier!( I f he had studied,…)

33- Irregular Verb

A verb that has a different past and/or past participle form and you have to memorize them.

eg: go–> went–gone

34- Linking Verb

A verb that does not show an action and is usually followed by an adjective.

eg: look/seem/taste/…

35- Main Verb

A verb that has its own meaning alone and is not an auxiliary verb.

eg: talk/go/eat/…

36- Modal Verb

An auxiliary verb like can ,must,could,… that  always comes with a bare infinitive.

37- Negative

It is the opposite of affirmative and changes the “yes” meaning to a “no” meaning .

38- Noun

A word that shows a person,thing,place,quality,quantity,concept,… They are two groups : proper nouns and common nouns.

eg: Ali ( Proper Noun) / laptop(Common Noun)

39- Noun Clause

A clause that comes in the place of a noun and can not come alone.They usually start with relative pronouns.

eg: Where you go everyday is non of my business!

40- Noun Phrase

A group of words that come in the place of a noun. They do not have a subject and a verb like a noun clause.

eg: The car over there is mine.

41- Object

A thing or a person that gets the action from a verb.We have Direct Objects and Indirect Objects

42- Part of Speech

One of the group of words that make a sentence like verb,noun,adjective,object,…

43- Participle

It is a form of a verb that can be used as an adjective or a noun.There are Past Participles and Present Participles.

eg: interesting/swimming/…

44- Passive Voice

It is form where the subject of the sentence(object of the active voice) gets the action.

eg: Rice is eaten by many people.

45- Past Participle

A form of a verb that usually is made by adding “ed” to the end of a verb and is used in perfect forms,passive voice and sometimes is used as an adjective.

eg: interested 

46- Phrasal Verb

A verb that has two or more that two parts : a verb and an adverb. Usually we can not guess the meaning of a phrasal verb by looking at the words separately.

eg: take off

47- Phrase

A group of words that have a meaning but does not have a subject and a verb like a clause.We have Noun Phrases , Adjective Phrases,Adverb Phrases,…

48- Possessive Adjective


49- Possessive Pronoun

mine, yours,..

50- Preposition

A pat of speech that comes before a noun and shows time,place,and location,… like on,in,under,about,

51- Present Participle

The ing form of a verb used in a sentence as the verb or an adjective.

eg: working/interesting/…

52- Pronoun

They can come in the place of a noun or a noun phrase. They are different types: Possessive Pronouns,Object pronouns( me, you ,us,..),Subject pronouns( I , we, you,..),reflexive Pronouns,..

53- Proper Noun

A kind of noun. It is the name of a person,place,… It always starts with a capital letter.

54- Punctuation Mark

Marks like period,comma,question marks…that we use in standard writing.

55- Question Tag

It is a mini question that comes at the end of a tag question.

eg: Time flies,doesn’t it?

56- Question Word(WH words)

There are two kinds of questions : yes/no and wh questions. wh questions are  with wh words like when,where,who,how,…

57- Reflexive Pronoun

Apronoun that finishes with the word “self” or ” selves” and we use them when the subject and object are the same or when we want to emphasize the subject.

eg: myself,yourselves,..

58- Regular Verbs

Verbs that get “ed” for the past and the past participle forms.\

eg: worked/talked/..

59- Reported Speech

Another word for indirect speech.

60- Standard English

It is the normal English language that educated native speakers of English use.

61- Superlative

Adjectives and adverbs that show the extreme degree of something.

eg: He is the nicest man in the world.

62- Tag Question

Special structure with an affirmative or a negative sentence that ends in a mini-question(Question Tag); the whole sentence is called a tag question; the mini-question is a question tag; tag questions are usually used to get a “yes”.

eg: Time flies,doesn’t it?

63- Tense

It is the form of a verb that usually  shows the time of a verb.Click To Learn More)

64- Transitive Verb

A verb that needs an object.

eg: She eats an apple.

65- Yes/No Question

It is a question whose answer is yes or no.

eg: Are you happy?

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By | 2017-09-08T14:28:37+00:00 May 4th, 2014|Blog|9 Comments

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  1. Mahdieh Abootalebi February 1, 2014 at 21:39 - Reply

    Yhank you! so useful

    • Hossein Mofidi February 4, 2014 at 23:09 - Reply

      Glaaad to hear that Mahdie!

  2. elham July 27, 2013 at 13:12 - Reply

    she made me go to work?
    she made me go work?
    man ta alan fek mikardam 2vomi doroste.:-)

  3. Fateme July 26, 2013 at 15:05 - Reply

    Hi Mr.Mofidi! 🙂
    Awesome post! so useful! Thank you!
    You are a very nice teacher!
    I’ll read thes post and I’ll practise until my grammer be good! But I think who want to improve his/her English should have a good teacher like you…!

  4. amirhossein atarha July 26, 2013 at 13:51 - Reply

    wooooooow did you write all of these thats great
    i was just read them for 10 minutes
    great and useful

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