A Level English Frameworks Revision Cards

A set of revision cards for A level English Language. Good knowledge of the frameworks of English, particularly grammer, is essential for the exam- these cards provide an overview of them if you need to refresh your memory. I am doing AQA AS Level language but these could probably be used for other boards as well! Hope they are helpful :)

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What are the frameworks of English?

The English Language has 5 frameworks- key parts which make up the language. They are:

  • Lexis- word choices
  • Grammar, syntax (order of words and phrases) and morphology (how words are made)
  • Graphology- the way in which a text appears 
  • Phonology- what something sounds like
  • Semantics and Pragmatics- the meaning of words
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Grammar 101

Chances are you will have had a crash course in grammar as part of your English Language A Level. Sadly it is quite a long topic with many parts, so coming up are condensed versions of the extensive grammar notes you can find in your textbook or online to help you learn all the basics!

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There are many different types of verb! 

Verbs can be finite or nonfinite. Finite verbs need to agree with number, person and tense in a sentence, eg: "I ran for the bus." There is only one of me, and it's in the past tense. Nonfinite verbs are those in another form: Infinitive- any verb can be put into an infinitive form (to see, to go, to do) Gerund- a verb that can also function as a noun, which always ends in -ing (running is hard) or a Participle- a verb that can function as an adjective and ends in -ing,-ed or -t (the dripping tap, the burnt toast)

Verbs have a form called the aspect, which tells us the time that the action took place.

  • Progressive aspect. Past progressive- suggests that something that was happening in the past was interrupted (He was watchimg TV when the phone rang) Present Progressive- suggests something is happening right now (He is trying to put up the shelves)
  • Perfect aspect. Past perfect- suggests an action which was completed before a given time in the past (He had eaten a sandwich) Present perfect- past actions which have effects lasting up to the present (He has caught a cold)

When looking for aspect, watch out for the auxiliary verb- was, is, had or has?

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Verbs 2

Verbs can be dynamic or stative. Dynamic verbs show an action, while stative verbs show a state of being- I ate chocolate (dynamic) compared to I love chocolate (stative) A stative verb may be followed by a noun or adjective to complete the sentence, eg "My friend is a hairdresser" This is called the complement.

Verbs can be in the active or passive form in a sentence. In an active sentence, the subject does the action: "I wash the dishes" in a subject, verb, object format. In a passive sentence, the subject recieves the action  "The dishes were washed by me" in a subject, verb, agent format- the object (me) is called the agent when it is doing the action.

Verbs can be transitive or intransitive.

Transitive verbs are followed by a direct object- the dog bit the postman.                                   Intransitive verbs cannot be followed by a direct object- the dog barked.

Verbs can be main or auxiliary. Auxiliary verbs appear in front a main verb (He was singing a song). Three verbs can be main or auxiliary verbs- to be, to have and to do, and they are called copular verbs. Modal verbs can only be auxiliary. There are 10: can, could, would, might, may, should, shall, must, will, ought. They change the tone of the sentence- "children must sit" is different from "children can sit".

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Phew, that's all for verbs! Nouns are thankfully shorter. They fit into one of four groups:

  • Common nouns- an everyday word, like dog, cat, girl, boy etc
  • Proper nouns- a person, place, thing or brand name, like Emma, Belfast, Monday, Biro.
  • Collective nouns- a group of things, like team, crowd, class, flock, herd.
  • Abstract nouns- things that are not tangible, like dream, idea, love, hate, wisdom.

Nouns can be count or non-count. Count nouns are things that you can count or pluralise and can be preceded by definite or indefinite articles, like the, a, this, that or those. Non-count noums are things which cannot be pluralised- rice, pasta, wood, milk, luggage, English, reading. You can use articles (the water, the rice) but they don't always need it (smoking is bad for you, English is the best subject!)

That's all for nouns- easy, right?

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Adjectives are also known as modifiers and can do several different jobs- point things out, show possession, indicate number or order and in the widest sense, describe a noun.

Adjectives can be attributive or predicative, more commonly called premodifers or postmodifiers.

Attributive adjectives (premodifiers) come before the noun- the blue sea, the old man.

Predicative adjectives (postmodifiers) come after the noun- the sea is blue, the man is old.

Adjectives have three modes:

  • Positive- the simplest form (old, blue, thin, pretty)
  • Comparative- compares 2 things (older, thinner, prettier)
  • Superlative- the highest form of something (oldest, thinnest, prettiest)

However, some don't always fit- beautiful for example. We can't say "beautifuler" so we use the term more or most. 

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Pronouns take the place of a noun. There are different types of pronoun.

  • Personal pronoun- replace the subject or object of a sentence rather than using their name. They can be first, second or third person (I, you, she/he) and subject or object (I, me, he, him)
  • Possessive pronouns show possession- eg this is hers. Be careful- they have to take the place of a noun rather than precede it- her, your and their, for example, are determiners, becuase they precede a noun (this is her purse).
  • Reflexive pronouns- when the object of the verb is the same as the subject- eg I wash myself. They always end in -self or -selves.
  • Demonstrative pronouns- have a sense of indicating something, eg this, that, these- eg That will give you the answers. But again, if they precede a noun (these shoes etc) they are determiners rather than pronouns.
  • Indefinite pronouns- these do not refer to a specific thing- eg something, anything, no-one.
  • Relative pronouns- act as linking words and are always place directly after the noun they refer to, eg A city that has many tourist attractions.
  • Interrogative pronouns- used when asking a question eg who, whose, which, what.
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Other word classes


Joining words which link parts of a sentence. Co-ordinating conjuctions link two main clauses, such as and, but and or. Subordinating conjuctions connect a subordinate clause to a main clause, like although, because and unless.


Prepositions show how one thing is related to another, by position (the post office is opposite the cafe) direction (go past the church to get to the main road) or time (I go to bed after watching Eastenders) They also show the relationship between the noun that they precede and something else in the sentence (the man at the reception desk)


These precede nouns and refer directly to them. The most common are the definite article "the" and the indefinite article "a" or "an". They also include demonstrative determiners (this pen, that book) and possesive determiners (my bag, our house) and quantity determiners (two girls, some money)

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Morphology is the study of word formation. Each word is made up of one or more "chunk" or meaning- the smallest unit of meaning. The chunk is called a morpheme. Morphemes can be derivational or inflectional.

  • Derivational morphemes change the meaning of a word- eg shapen-mishapen, understood-misunderstood, permeable- impermeable
  • Inflectional morphemes alter the number or tense, but not the meaning- eg shop-shopping, happen-happened.

Words can be simple (made up of only one morpheme) such as cat, dog, homework, chocolate, brilliant etc. They can also be complex- made up of more than one morpheme, such as running, unhappy, teacher etc. 

Morphology can be used to create compound words- eg mother-in-law, makeup, treehouse. You can also create new words (neologisms) by adding or taking away a morpheme eg babysitter becomes a new verb, to babysit, when you take away the -er morpheme

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Graphology is the way a text appears. This might refer to the font used- does it make a text seem modern or old fashioned, serious or fun etc? It might also refer to the use of pictures. If a text has lots of pictures, fancy fonts and other visual effects it can be described as graphologically rich.

In terms of the exam, graphology might be used for a particular effect- maybe it implies that the text is aimed at women by showing a picture of clothes or makeup, or it shows power by using an emotive image in a charity leaflet.

Graphology is used to support language, so by all means talk about it reinforcing an effect of the language in a piece. But it's not a linguistic device that you can analyse, so don't talk about it in detail or you won't manage to get marks for language analysis!

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