8.6 Glossary - Key language concepts
Understanding words used to describe language and grammar will help you to improve your understanding of English more rapidly. This is a glossary of the most important terms used on this course.
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Abstract nouns refer to ideas or qualities, rather than a physical entity (concrete noun). The following are examples of abstract nouns:
An adverb is a word that gives additional information about an action or idea. They fall into several categories:
Source: Grammar for English Language Teachers p.29 (c) Cambridge University Press.
A type of subordinate clause that adds information to a main clause. These clauses can be finite or non-finite. In the following examples, adverbial clauses are shown in italics:
These are verbs that help to make tenses, negative statements, questions etc. In English, 'be', 'have' and 'do' are auxiliary verbs. Here are the most basic rules:
Cohesion refers to how well linked together ideas expressed in clauses, sentences and paragraphs are. It is an important assessment area in the IELTS writing exam. Cohesion is often achieved through the use of cohesive devices. The following sentences are not well linked together:
Adding basic cohesive devices changes this:
These are words that help to link ideas expressed in clauses and sentences together.
They allow sentences to link together smoothly and allow the writer to avoid sounding repetitive. Compare these sentences:
A combination of words in a language, that happens very often and more frequently than would happen by chance.
For example, blonde + hair is a collocation. However, yellow + hair is not a collocation. Another example of a collocation is show + increase, e.g. The chart shows an increase in the number of students applying for university last year. However, present + increase is not a collocation and is therefore not accurate vocabulary usage.
A collocation dictionary allows you to search the different collocations that a word has.
a word that refers to an object which is not the name of a particular person, place or thing
Compare these to proper nouns which refer to the names of people, places and things and must be capitalised:
A word formed by putting more than one word together. Here are some examples:
Words that connect two main clauses together or add extra information to a particular phrase. Here is an example of conjunctions being used to add additional information to phrases:
Here is an example of coordinating conjunctions connecting two main clauses:
The main coordinating conjunctions are 'and', 'but' and 'or'.