Understanding grammar terminology is necessary to follow grammar instruction. This is especially true in upper level ESL and EFL classes. This understanding is sometimes taken for granted and students who are not familiar with this terminology can have a hard time following the lesson. In order to help with this problem, this feature presents an extract with a follow-up guide giving examples of the most important terminology. By quickly reviewing this reference sheet, you can quickly brush-up your or your class' understanding of key grammar terminology, while at the same time reviewing some basic grammar concepts.
Each grammar terminology reference is presented in bold followed by a number. Explanations of these reference numbers follow at the end of the extract.
Extract: Frank Sinatra's Sublimely Ironic Crooning StyleFrank Sinatra (1) was one of the (2) most important representatives of the 'crooning' style of singing. When played in the background (3), this style of singing stirs an extremely emotional response. (4) However (5), on closer listening, Frank Sinatra's sublime (6) artistry not only triggers this emotional response, but (7) also brings about a sly smile as the listener recognizes the subtler ironies of his (8) delivery.
It is this (9) often unique presentation which (10) calls for repeated listening. (11) Indeed, (12) Sinatra's perfect (13) mastery of vocal colors rewards careful listening with many surprises! (14) It can be rather (15) surprising to detect this ironic quality while Sinatra declares his love during one of his ballads.
What was the secret to Sinatra's depth of expression? (16) As my friend Jack told me, " (17) Sinatra's style may have been as smooth as silk on the surface, but it also carried the scars left by a life lived to the fullest." (17)
- Capital letter - use capital letters:
- to begin sentences
- with the first person subject pronoun "I"
- for all proper nouns including names, days of the week, month, names of institutions, etc.
- nationality adjectives (i.e., Italian)
- for the first letter in direct speech
- Determiner: type - definite article
- Subordinate clause - cannot stand alone
- Main clause - can stand alone
- Connective adverb - other examples include: firstly, finally, etc.
- Adjective - modifying following noun
- Connective conjunction - other examples include: and, or, etc.
- Determiner: type - possessive adjective (also known as possessive pronoun)
- Determiner: type - demonstrative adjective (including this, that, these, those)
- Connective: relative pronoun
- Period (US English), full stop (British English)
- Ungradable adjective - these adjectives are already 'very' (Example: 'wonderful' means 'very good'. These adjectives can only be used with 'extreme' modifiers like absolutely, extremely, etc.)
- Exclamation mark - used for emphasis
- Modifier - adverb. Other examples include: pretty, very, quite, etc.
- Question mark - used when asking questions
- Quotation marks - used when employing direct speech
Test your knowledge with this grammar terminology quiz.