adjective: a word or phrase that describes a quality or attribute (eg purple, happy, tiny, fuzzy).

adverb: a word or phrase that changes or adds extra meaning to an adjective, verb, or other adverb, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc. (eg softly, quite, then, often, sideways).

antonym: a word that has the opposite meaning to another word (eg dark is the antonym of light).

apostrophe: a punctuation mark (') which is used to show where a letter is dropped from a word (is not => isn't) , or possession (Jenny's duck).

article: a little word that is used in front of a noun. They are : a, an (these two are indefinite articles) , and the (definite article).

clause: the simplest structure in a sentence, consisting of a subject and predicate.

collective noun: a term that is used to name a group or collection of one type of thing (eg a mob of kangaroosmob is a collective noun).

compositor: a person who does typesetting for printing presses, or keys text into a compositing machine.

consonant: basic speech sound; most of the letters in the alphabet, apart from the vowels.

contraction: 1) a word or group of words resulting from shortening an original form ( eg "o'clock” is a contraction of "of the clock") 2) the process of shortening a word by combination or elision.

conjunction: a word that connects clauses or sentences or to coordinate words in the same clause (eg and, after, for, but, if).

elision: the omission of a sound or syllable when speaking (eg I'm, they're, let's).

exclamation: a sudden cry or remark (eg ow, hey, argh, bleah, aah, eeeeew)

fixations: in speed reading, refers to the points at which your eyes come to rest when reading

homonym: words that sound the same, but have different spelling and meanings (eg bear and bare). Also called a homophone.

irregular verb: a verb whose parts (especially past tense and past participle) do not follow the "add d or ed" rule (eg ring the bell now, they rang the bell yesterday, she had rung the bell).

noun: a word used to identify or name things, people, and places (eg coffee, Sarah, Tokyo).

object: the noun which has the verb action done to it, in a sentence.

past participle: a verb (doing word) that functions as an adjective (eg baked dinner, bruised knees).

past tense: a verb (doing word) that expresses action that has happened in the past (eg walked, patted, cooked, spoke, ran).

plural: more than one in number. Plural nouns are names of things that are more than one (eg ducks, schools, towns, ships, hamburgers).

possessive: relating to or denoting the case of nouns and pronouns expressing ownership; a possessive word or phrase (eg dog's, James', its, whose).

prefix: a word, letter, or number put in front of another word, which usually qualifies its meaning (eg the ex- in exfoliate, and the pro- in proactive are prefixes).

preposition: a word governing, usually coming before, a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation to another word, as in The piglet is on the stage. Some common prepositions are : on, under, over, in, for, to, of, and with.

present participle: a verb (doing word) that functions as a noun, generally formed by adding -ing (eg running, skiing, coughing, sewing)

pronoun: a word that stands by itself as a noun phrase and that either refers to the participants (eg I, you) or to someone or something mentioned elsewhere (eg she, it, this).

proper noun: a type of noun that names an individual person, place or group (eg Fiona Smithson, Kyoto, Canberra Raiders). They always have a capital letter at the start of the name.

regression: in speed reading, refers to the habit of re-reading text that you have already just read.

regular verb: a verb whose past tense and past participle are formed by adding "d" or "ed" (eg walk, walked)

subject: the 'actor' or thing being discussed or described, or doing the action, in a sentence or clause.

subvocalization: also, subvocal speech, silent speech, inner speech, and inner audition; in speed reading, refers to the habit of audibly or silently "saying" the words as you read them

suffix: letters added to the end of a word that qualify its meaning or form a derivative form (eg -ation, -ly, -ing, -ology)

syllable: the basic unit of pronunciation containing one vowel sound, which forms the whole or part of a word. Eg book has one syllable, while kitchen has two (kit-chen), and apartment has three (a-part-ment).

synonym: a word that has the same or similar meaning to another word (eg silly, rash, foolish, and stupid are synonyms).

verb: a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence, an 'action' word (eg poke, giggle, cook, read).

vowel: any of the letters A, E, I, O, and U (and sometimes Y). They form the basis of a syllable in spoken language.

Last modified on Friday, 10 June 2011 00:20
English Language Skills (Denise)

English Language Skills (Denise)

I'm a syndicated puzzle writer, with 8 puzzle books to my name, including Word Searches for Dummies and Cracking Codes and Cryptograms for Dummies (with Mark Koltko-Rivera). I have a background in science and graphic design, and am a trained indexer. My favourite puzzles are cryptic crosswords. and my favourite books are murder mysteries and cookbooks. I am also a very keen knitter.

I write a blog all about puzzles, called Puzzling.

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