7.1 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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A finite verb is one that occurs in a position in a sentence that shows tense. Therefore, finite verbs can change their form by inflection:
In the example above 'wants' is finite because it is showing the present simple tense and third person by adding an 's'. However, 'to study' cannot change form and is an example of a non-finite verb in this context.
A noun formed with '-ing' which is used to make a noun phrase or part of a noun phrase. The gerunds in the sentences below are highlighted with italics.
The most simple form of the verb. This is nearly always in its present simple form, e.g.
Or we say the infinitive 'with to' for
An intransitive verb is a verb which cannot be immediately followed by an object noun phrase:
On the other hand, transitive verbs must be immediately followed by a noun:
Online dictionaries usually indicate whether a noun is transitive [T] or intransitive [I]. Some verbs can be both depending on the sense and context that they are being used in.
Linking words, also known as connectors, help to link ideas expressed in clauses or sentences together.
Adding a linker to the improves the cohesion by connecting the ideas expressed in the sentences more explicitly:
A clause which consists of at least a subject and verb and which can stand alone, e.g. it does not require another clause for it to be complete, unlike a subordinate clause which does. Some common patterns:
A kind of verb that reflects functions like possibility, obligation, advice, predictions etc. These verbs are always followed by an infinitive without 'to'.
A subordinate clause which does not contain a finite verb. Here are some of the main kinds:
Compare these to finite subordinate clauses which contain a finite verb:
A verb in a sentence that cannot be changed (inflected) for tense, person etc. These verbs usually follow finite verbs. In the following sentence 'have' is finite and 'been' and 'planning' are non-finite: