Full Glossary of English Language Technical Terms


Technical Terms Explained


1st / 2nd / 3rd  P Pronoun – a pronoun is any word which stands in place for a noun – e.g. “He is great.” Where “he” refers to John – a noun

Possessive Pronoun – a pronoun such as “his” or “her/s” or “our/s” or “their/s” which denotes possession as in “It is our car.”

Reflexive Pronoun – a pronoun which refers back to itself – e.g. myself, yourself, etc

Interrogative Pronoun – pronouns use to ask questions , e.g. “who”, “whose”, “which”

Indefinite Pronoun – a pronoun which refers to things in a general or open way – e.g. “someone”, “anybody”, “everything”, “nothing”

Demonstrative Pronoun – pronouns which are used to point at things – e.g. “this”, “that”, “these” and “”those”

Proper Noun – nouns which are typically used without determiners and give names to people, places or things – they always have a capital letter – “London”

Concrete Noun – things of substance – e.g. “table”, “horse”

Abstract Noun – ideas – things without substance – e.g. “beauty”, “hope”

Emotive Noun – a noun which will have an emotional impact upon the reader

Jargon – any term which is specific to a field and not generally understood

Semantic Field – a term to describe an area of language to do with a certain field – so there is a semantic field of war or food or music, which contains words to do with any of those fields – e.g. the words “march”, “cannon” and “advance” are all from the semantic field of war – the use of which in a text about relationships should be commented on as it says a lot about how the author sees relationships as a fraught topic.

Denotation – the dictionary meaning of a word

Connotation – the associations or the flavour of a word – the words which spring to mind when a particular word is used – e.g. the connotations of “school” are homework, boring, teachers, detention, etc – none of which are necessarily are in the dictionary meaning of the term. Connotations of words are often used by an author to decide on one word over another, depending on how they want the reader to view the topic under discussion, and so are always worth commenting on of any noun, adjective, verb or adverb used.

Collocation – refers to how words occur together regularly and in a restricted way – e.g. blonde hair, lean meat, etc

Comparative Adjective – bigger, smaller, more beautiful

Superlative Adjective – biggest, smallest, most beautiful

Attributive Adjective – when an adjective is used to pre modify the noun – as in “the big car…”

Predicative Adjective – when an adjective is the complement of the sentence – as in “the car is big” – Predicative adjectives are notable because the author has used a whole sentence to ascribe this attribute, and so stresses its importance

Descriptive Adjective – describes the objective appearance of a noun

Evaluative Adjective


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