A Glossary of English Grammar

By Geoffrey Leech | Go to book overview

Glossary of English grammar

A

abstract noun A noun which refers to an abstraction, that is which does not refer to anything physical or concrete. Common types of abstract noun are (a) nouns referring to events, actions or states, such as arrival, invitation, hope; (b) nouns referring to qualities, such as happiness, size, absurdity; (c) nouns referring to mental or perceptual phenomena, such as idea, music, vision. Abstract nouns contrast with concrete nouns, such as window, student and steam, which refer to physically identifiable entities or substances. Like concrete nouns, abstract nouns can be count, non-count or both. For example, arrival is count (as the plural form arrivals shows), happiness is non-count (as the oddity of *happinesses shows), and vision can be both: We need vision and We need visions are both possible, but with a difference of meaning.

Many abstract nouns are derived from verbs (for example, arrive ~ arrival, invite ~ invitation), or derived from adjectives (for example, happy ~ happiness, wide ~ width). Such derived nouns are typically recognizable by their suffixes (for example, -ation, -ion, -ness, -ity, -ance, -ence, -hood, -ing, -al). Some, however, have exactly the same form as a corresponding verb (for example, hope, love, release, mention).

accusative case An alternative term for objective case.

active, active voice The term applied to a verb phrase which is

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A Glossary of English Grammar
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • A Glossary of English Grammar iii
  • Contents v
  • Use of Special Symbols vi
  • Introduction 1
  • Glossary of English Grammar 5
  • Useful Books Relating to English Grammar 129
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 132
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