active voice; a sentence in which the subject is the person or thing carrying out an action

compare: Passive

A bricklayer builds houses.


describes the characteristics of a noun or pronoun, gives more information about how something/someone is

young, old, good, quick


expresses information about a verb, adjective or another adverb, can describe place, time, manner, degree or frequency

there, early, quickly, rather, sometimes



used before a noun, the definite article is the, the indefinite article is a or an

the table

a flower/an apple

Definite article

refers to a noun which is known, can be identified or is specific

The woman I met last week is very nice.

Indefinite article

used with a noun that is not specific or definite

a table, an apple

We need to buy a new table.


form of a verb or tense, expresses an action’s relation to time i.e. regular action, completed action, continuing action

see also: Tense

future progressive, past perfect, present perfect progressive


English tense-aspect that expresses a completed action, formed with the auxiliary verb have + past participle

see also: Present perfect, , Future Perfect

I have been to Greece.
They had eaten too much.
They will have arrived at the hotel by now.

Perfect progressive

perfect continuous; a combination of the perfect and progressive tense-aspects, expresses an action that started in the past and is/was/will be in still in progress at a specific moment in time, form with the auxiliary verbs have + been + present participle (-ing form)

see also: Present perfect progressive, Past Perfect Progressive, Future perfect progressive

She has been listening to music all day.
They had been driving for an hour.
I will have been working for 2 hours. 


continuous; English tense-aspect that expresses an action in progress, or something temporary, formed with the auxiliary verb be + present participle (-ing form)

see also: Present progressive, Past Progressive, Future Progressive

I am washing the dishes.
I was listening to music.
She will be driving home.

Abstract noun

Auxiliary verb


Base form



part of a sentence, usually containing a subject and verb

see also: If-clause, Main clause, Subordinate clause, Relative clause

I am 15 and you are 27.

Contact clause

defining relative clause in which the relative pronoun has been left out

compare: Relative clause

This is the computer I bought last week.

Defining relative clause

identifying relative clause, restrictive relative clause; a relative clause which defines the noun or clause it follows i.e. identifies who or what is being referred to, not set off by commas

compare: Non-defining relative clause

The man who lives next door.

Dependent clause

subordinate clause; a clause introduced by a subordinating conjunction (because, as, since), cannot form a sentence without a main clause

compare: Main clause

I am happy because I am on holiday.


conditional clause, conditional sentence, if sentence; a subordinate clause that expresses a condition, usually introduced by if/when

see also: Dependent clause

If it rains, we will stay at home.

Main clause

independent clause; a clause that can stand alone as a sentence, formed with a subject and finite verb

compare: Dependent clause

I am happy because I am on holiday.

Non-defining relative clause

non-identifying relative clause, non-restrictive relative clause; a relative clause which gives additional non-essential information about the noun or clause it follows, always set off by commas

compare: Defining relative clause

James Smith, who lives next door, is moving to Manchester next month.

Participle clause

a subordinate clause that uses a past or present participle

see also: Past Participle, Present participle

Running down the stairs, Cinderella lost her shoe.

Relative clause

a dependent clause which gives additional or necessary information about the noun or clause it follows, introduced by a relative pronoun such as who, which or that

see also: Relative pronoun

I know the man who was talking to our teacher.

Closed question

Collective noun

Common noun



an adjective or adverb form used in comparisons with than and as, formed by adding -er or using the word more

compare: Positive adjective/adverb, Superlative

tall – taller – the tallest

polite – more polite – the most polite

little – less – the least


part of a clause which completes or gives information about the predicate and usually follows the verb, complements can add information about the subject or object

see also: Linking verb

Peter and Julia are doctors.

The news made them very happy.

Compound noun

Conditional clause/sentence


Conjugated verb


inflection; forms of a verb which reflect person, number, voice, mood and tense

see also: Finite verb

I → am
you/we/they → are
he/she/it → is


word that links two words, phrases, clauses or sentences

and, but, if, or

Coordinating conjunction

word that links two grammatically equal words, phrases, clauses or sentences

and, but, for, nor, or, yet

I like flowers and you like chocolate.

Subordinating conjunction

subordinator; word that connects a main clause with a subordinate clause and can express condition, consequence, contradiction, reason, result or time

after, although, because, if, since, until, when

I am hungry because I haven’t eaten anything yet.


a letter or sound that is not a vowel

compare: Vowel

b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z



short form; a shortened combination of words often used in spoken English

I’m, you’re, he’s, don’t, can’t, isn’t, won’t
She’s not here today.

Count noun

Countable noun



affirmative, positive; a statement or fact which is positive in the grammatical sense

compare: Negative, Question

We are happy.
The weather is terrible today.

Defining relative clause

Definite article

Demonstrative pronoun

Dependent clause


word used before a noun to determine exactly which noun is being referred to

see also: Demonstrative pronoun, Indefinite pronoun, Indefinite article, Possessive pronoun, Quantifier


Direct object

Direct speech

the exact words a speaker has said, written in quotation marks, often used with reporting verbs (say, tell, reply)

compare: Indirect speech

He said, “I went there yesterday.”





Finite verb

Formal language

style of written and spoken English that is more complicated, including longer sentences and words, modal verbs and full/complete sentences and verb forms, use formal English in serious situations, academic or business writing or when communicating with people that we do not know

compare: Informal language

Laura has commenced her studies at the university in Canberra.

Future Perfect

future perfect simple; English verb tense to express actions that will be completed by a certain time in the future, formed with will/shall + have + past participle

He will have done it by then.

Future perfect progressive

future perfect continuous; English verb tense to express how long an action will have been in progress up to a specific future time, formed with will + have + been + present participle

In five minutes, we will have been walking for four hours without a break.

Future Progressive

Future continuous; English verb tense to express that an action will be in progress at a specific future time, formed with will/shall + be + present participle (-ing form)

Tomorrow at 9 o’clock, I will be watching TV.

Future Simple

English verb tense to express future arrangements, predictions and plans, formed with will + infinitive or be going to + infinitive

I will do that.

I am going to do that.



nouns, pronouns and adjectives that are masculine, feminine or neutral

He is tall (masculine).
She is happy (feminine).
It is cold (neuter).


possessive, ’s genitive; shows ownership, possession or belonging between two nouns or pronouns, formed by adding ’s to a noun or with the proposition of

the boy’s bike

the handlebars of the bike


-ing form; a verb ending in -ing which functions like a noun, often used as the subject of a sentence or after certain prepositions, adjectives, nouns and verbs

compare: Present participle

Cycling is good for your health.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Group word


Helping verb


Identifying relative clause



imperative clause; formed with the base form of the verb and no subject, used to express advice, commands, instructions, orders, suggestions, requests

Be quiet, please.
Turn left at the corner.

Impersonal Passive

it-passive, to-infinitive passive; passive sentence with an impersonal form

It is said that he is mean.
He is said to be mean.

Indefinite article

Indefinite pronoun

Independent clause

Indirect object

Indirect question

a question that is contained within a sentence or clause, not usually punctuated by a question mark

I don’t know where the station is.

Indirect speech

reported speech; retelling a speakers words using a reporting verb (say, tell), a change in tense, person, time or place is often required

compare: Direct speech

He said (that) he had been there the day before.


base form; basic unconjugated form of the verb, used with and without the preposition to

compare: Finite verb

(to) go, (to) sleep, (to) be


Informal language

style of English, mostly spoken, which includes contractions, simple vocabulary, shortened sentences and colloquial language

compare: Formal language

Laura’s started studying at the uni in Canberra.



Intransitive verb

Irregular verb



Linking verb


Main clause

Main verb

Mass noun



negation, negated; words and structure which are not true, formed by negative prefixes and suffixes as well as words such as not, nobody, nothing

compare: , Question

The weather isn’t bad today.
Nobody came to the party.
This puzzle is impossible.

Non-defining relative clause

Non-identifying relative clause

Non-restrictive relative clause


common noun; word that describes people, animals and things

see also: Pronoun

house, moon, air, people, idea

Abstract noun

a noun that is not a material object i.e. an idea, quality or state

beauty, truth, safety, well-being

Collective noun

group word; type of noun which refers to a group of people or things

see also: Uncountable noun

class, family, group

Compound noun

noun made of two or more words, can be written together as one word, as two separate words or joined with a hyphen

earring, cat food, ice-cream

Countable noun

count noun; a noun that can be used in singular and plural, with the indefinite article (a/an) and that can be counted

compare: Uncountable noun

one apple, two apples
Can I have an apple?

Plural noun

a noun that only has a plural form

scissors, sunglasses, trousers

Proper noun

noun that describes a specific person, animal, place or thing, always written with a capital letter

The Queen of England, Michael, South Africa, The White House

Uncountable noun

mass noun; a noun that is not used with an indefinite article (a/an) and cannot be made plural, a noun that cannot be counted

compare: Countable noun

information, milk, wood


the difference between singular and plural

boy – boys/I – we/that – those/am – are


a word or verb form that describes more that one person or thing

The presents are for us.


word form referring to just one person or thing

The present is for me.

Non-finite verb



the person or thing affected by the main verb, usually the noun, pronoun or phrase that follows a verb

compare: Subject

I gave the boy a big apple.

Direct object

person or thing directly affected by the verb main verb, in our example: an apple was given

I like him.

I gave the boy an apple.

Indirect object

in a sentence with two objects, person or thing who receives the object or benefits from the action of the main verb, often introduced by the preposition to or for

In our example, the boy receives an apple but it is the apple and not the boy that has been given.

I gave the boy an apple.

I gave an apple to the boy.

Object pronoun

Open question



non-finite verb form used as a noun or adjective and in the conjugation of compound verb tenses

They have gone to the supermarket.

The lesson was boring.

Past Participle

-ed form; non-finite verb form used in the conjugation of some compound tenses, passive voice and as an adjective, third form in the list of irregular verbs

I would have gone out with my friends last night. But asked to stand in for a colleague, I had been to a conference and was very tired in the evening.

Perfect Participle

participle verb form used in participle clauses, formed with having + past participle

Having said that, he left.

Present participle

-ing form; -ing form of a verb, used to form progressive tenses, as an adjective and in participle clauses

compare: Gerund

Sitting on the sofa, she was reading an interesting book.

Demonstrative pronoun

demonstrative; shows which person or thing is being referred to in a sentence

this, that, these, those

That is my car.

Personal pronoun

pronoun which replaces a noun as the subject (I) or object (me)

I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they
me, you, him, her, it, us, you, them

Possessive pronoun

possessive pronouns express possession or ownership of the noun they replace

see also:

mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs

This is my book. It's mine.

Reflexive pronoun

pronoun used after a verb when the subject and object are the same

myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves
painted herself a picture.

Relative pronoun

pronoun which introduces a relative clause

see also: Relative clause

who, which, that
the boy who speaks English

Subject pronoun

replaces a noun which is the subject

compare: Object pronoun

I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they
She was happy to see him.

Participle clause


passive voice; the subject is the person or thing affected by the action of the verb and not the one causing it, formed with be + past participle

compare: Active

The letter is written.

Past Perfect Progressive

past perfect continuous; English past tense to express how long an action had been in progress up to a specific past time, formed with had + been + present participle

They had been working for 10 hours, so they were exhausted.

Past Perfect Simple

pluperfect; English past tense to express an action that took place before a second past action, formed with had + past participle

I hadn’t finished the getting ready when the guests arrived for dinner.

Past Progressive

past continuous; English past tense to express an action in progress at a specific past time, formed with was/were + present participle (-ing form)

Yesterday at 9 ’clock I was watching TV.

Indefinite pronoun

pronoun which does not refer to a specific person, place or thing

see also: Demonstrative pronoun


someone/anyone/no one/everyone

Object pronoun

replaces a noun which is the object

compare: Subject pronoun

me, you, him, her, it, us, you, them

He gave me a watch.



Perfect progressive


classification of pronouns, verb conjugations and possessive determiners used to indicate the speaker (first person), the addressee (second person) or a third party (third person)

first person: I, my, mine – we, our, ours
second person: you, your, yours
third person: he, his, his/she, her, hers,/it, its, its – they, their, theirs

Phrasal verb


two or more words that form a unit, but do not form a complete sentence

big brown dog
at the weekend



Plural noun


Positive adjective/adverb

basic form of adjectives and adverbs, expresses quality but not degree

compare: Comparative, Superlative

tall – taller – the tallest

polite – more polite - the most polite

little – less - the least




part of the sentence which contains a verb and provides information about the subject, can be formed from one or more verbs

We learn English.

The house is being built.


letter or letters placed at the beginning of a word to form a new word

compare: Suffix

impossible, unhappy, rediscover


a short word used to connect a noun or pronoun to other words

We have been living in this house for almost five years.


happening now

The 5 dollar note has an image of the present queen on it.

Present perfect

English tense to express a completed action which is connected to or influences the present, formed with have + past participle

I have gone home.

Present perfect progressive

present perfect continuous; English tense to express an action which started in the past and is not complete, as well as, how long an action which started in the past has been in progress, formed with have + been + present participle

I have been working since 8 o'clock.

Present progressive

present continuous; English verb tense to express an action that is in progress at the moment of speaking or a temporary or incomplete action, formed with am/is/are + present participle (-ing form)

I am watching TV at the moment.

Present simple




refers to or replaces a noun

He thinks that she will help us.

Proper noun



a determiner, pronoun or phrase used with a noun to show amount

see also: Determiner, Pronoun

some, many, little, few, a lot of etc.

Many people learn Spanish as a foreign language.


interrogative; clause which requires a response from the speaking partner, used to gather information, formed with auxiliary verb + subject + base form of main verb

compare: Declarative, Negative

Do you live nearby?

Where do you live?


open question; question that asks for specific information and cannot be answered with yes or no, formed with a question word + auxiliary verb + subject + main verb

see also: Question word

Where do you live?

Yes-no question

closed question; question formed without a question word, answer starts with yes or no

see also: Short answer

Do you speak English?

Question tag

a small question added to the end of a positive or negative statement, used to check understanding or agreement

You know each other, don’t you?

Question word

wh-words; used to form wh-questions, help us to get more information when asking a question

see also: Wh-question

who, what, when, where, why, which, how
Where do you live?


Reflexive pronoun

Regular verb

Relative clause

Relative pronoun

Reported Speech

Restrictive relative clauses



starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop, can be made of one or more clauses, contains a verb and a subject

see also: Clause, Phrase

I am very happy about the news.

Short answer

formulaic polite response to yes-no questions, formed with yes + subject + auxiliary verb/ no + subject + auxiliary verb + not

see also: Yes-no question

Are you happy?
Yes, I am./No, I’m not.

Does he drink coffee?
Yes, he does./No, he doesn’t.

Signal word

a word, often an adverb, that can indicate a particular verb tense or tense-aspect

I bought a new bike yesterday.

I have just tidied up my room.

Simple past

preterite, past tense; English verb tense to express completed singular or repeated actions in the past, often with reference to time

We went to the cinema yesterday.

Simple present

present tense; English verb tense to express regular and habitual actions in the present

They get up early every day.


Stative verb


emphasis; the way a syllable or part of a phrase or sentence is pronounced with more importance

pronunciation (stress falls on the second syllable)

controversy (stress falls on the first and third syllable)


the person or thing who performs the action of the main verb, or is connected to a description by a linking verb, normally placed at the beginning of a sentence in English

compare: Object

The boy is reading a book to his sister.

Subject pronoun


special present tense form used in particular fixed expression and that-clauses in a formal style, more common in American English

Long live the Queen.

I wish I were rich.

It is essential that children be able to play.

Subordinate clause

Subordinating conjunction



letter or letters placed at the end of a word to form a new word

compare: Prefix

hopefull, sweetness, without


an adjective or adverb formed with the suffix -est or the word most, expresses the highest degree of quality

compare: Positive adjective/adverb, Comparative

tall – taller – the tallest

polite – more polite – the most polite

little – less – the least


unit of pronunciation containing a vowel, can form a whole word or is part of a word which can be separated

cat (one syllable)

po-lite-ly (three syllables)



form of a verb that indicates when an action takes place, took place or will take place

compare: Aspect

He is speaking./He spoke./He will speak.

To-infinitive passive

Transitive verb


Uncountable noun



action word, doing word; word that describes an action, experience or condition i.e. describes what a person or thing does

see also: Noun, Adjective, Adverb

learn, go, speak

I speak English.

Auxiliary verb

helping verb; the verbs have, be and do when used together with a main verb to form compound tenses and the passive voice

see also: Main verb, Modal verb

I am working./I have worked./I will work.

I do not work./Do you work?

Finite verb

a verb that has been conjugated to express tense, person and number

compare: Infinitive

I am
he is
they are

Intransitive verb

verb that does not take a direct object

compare: Transitive verb

arrive, come, die, happen, live, rain etc. 

Something has happened.

Irregular verb

verb that does not follow regular conjugation patterns, especially in simple past and past participle forms

compare: Regular verb

go – went – gone
buy – bought – bought
cut – cut – cut

Linking verb

copular verb; a verb that links a subject to a complement

be, become, seem, feel
You seem happy.

Main verb

full verb; verb which expresses the meaning in a clause, for example, the action, process or state of being

compare: Auxiliary verb, Modal verb

We have worked.
She is going to leave.
They can go home now.

modal auxiliary; verb with only one form, used with a main verb, auxiliary verb or infinitive to express degrees of certainty, obligation, desirability etc.

compare: Main verb, Auxiliary verb, Infinitive

I can swim.
He must go.
We should do that.

Non-finite verb

verb that does not express tense, person or number e.g. infinitive, present participle or past participle

compare: Finite verb

She is wearing a blue hat.
He went to the supermarket to buy bread.

Phrasal verb

verb made up of a base verb and a particle, the meaning of the phrasal verb is different from the meaning of the base verb

look up, look for, look forward to

Regular verb

verb that follows a regular conjugation pattern i.e. takes -ed in the simple past and past participle form

compare: Irregular verb

work – worked – worked

Stative verb

verb that describes a state or condition and not an action, often not used in progressive tenses

agree, be, become, feel, realize, seem, think, understand

Transitive verb

a verb that takes a direct object

compare: Intransitive verb

ask, buy, enjoy, get, like, take, use etc.

Johnny uses public transport.


the letters/sounds a, e, i, o, u

compare: Consonant

a, e, i, o, u




Yes-no question