English Language revision

HideShow resource information

English Language revision – glossary of key terms



Lexis – vocabulary system; meaning at word and phrase level

Grammar – structural relationship within and between sentences and utterances

Pragmatics – the ways in which social conventions and implied meanings are encoded in spoken and written language.

Discourse – longer stretches of text, looking particularly at aspects of cohesion / the way texts create identities for particular individuals, groups or institutions, e.g. the discourse of law, politics, the media.

Graphology – language as a semiotic system creating meaning through textual design, signs and images

Phonetics / phonology – the sounds of English, how they are produced and how they are described; including aspects of prosody

Register – situational variation and register: how language varies in relation to audiences, purposes and contexts.

Mode – how language may vary as a consequence of the channel of communication (speech, writing and mixed modes)

Idiolect – the language style acquired by individuals as a result of their personal characteristics, system of belief and social experience

Dialect – the variations in language produced as a result of local, community and regional diversity

Sociolect language variations produced by the effects of education, socio-economic class, occupation and membership of social group.


Denotation (semantics) – the study of meaning and how it’s created

Connotation (pragmatics) – the study of context, implication and inference


Open class/lexical word class – nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives. They drop in and out of the language. They are the content words. Without them we lose all meaning.

Closed class/grammatical word class – pronouns, determiners, preposition, conjunctions (coordinating/subordinating), auxiliary verbs (modal verbs or primary verbs), enumerators (one, two three, first, second, third, etc.).  They never change and are the glue which holds the sentence together – without them, the sentence would still make sense.



Non-finite verb phrases – verb phrases in which the verb isn’t fixed to any time frame, doesn’t sound complete and doesn’t sound complete. It can be attached to a finite verb phrase in order to make it sound complete (e.g. ‘walking unsteadily’ –> ‘walking unsteadily, he crossed the deck’)

Epistemic Modality – concerns estimation of the likelihood that a certain state of affairs is/has been /will be true (or false) – e.g. ‘we may see you tomorrow’, ‘can you remember?’

Deontic modals – express how something ought to be. They have elements of permission, obligation and, at the strongest level, requirement.

Progressive aspect – uses a form of ‘to be’ along with the ‘-ing’ form of the main verb, e.g. ‘I am singing’ (which is an activity that isn’t over and sounds as if it’s in the immediate ‘here and now’)

Perfective aspect – constructed using the auxiliary verb ‘have’ along with the past tense of the main verb. It’s primarily used for an action continuing up to the present, whereas in the past tense the action is over and done with. E.g. ‘I have worked all day’.

Transitive verbs – have a


Lydia Knight

This will be really handy with my resit, Thanks so much!! 


This is really good :)

ben dibb-fuller

my nan could do better - she's old, like fifty 9 and a half


ben calm it. great for last minute revision:)


Great!! Thanks for such a good revision resource. It's more than I would ask for. But really thanks. It's going to help me a lot in my exam. :D


cool but you could improve it by writing the effects of each technique


This is so helpful, it will help a lot with my revision, thanks .

Nicola Christian Graham

this has helped a lot! thank you!

Similar English Language resources:

See all English Language resources »See all Language and gender resources »