Abstract Noun


active voice; the standard voice for most English sentences; active sentences follow subject–verb–object word order

Compare: Passive

The artist paints portraits.


describing word; modifies a noun or pronoun to give us more information about its characteristics and tell us what something is like

young, old, good, quick

A tall modern building with large windows.


describes a verb, adjective or another adverb; adverbs give information about place, time, manner, degree or frequency

there, early, quickly, rather, sometimes

Sometimes I get up early, but it’s really hard when I’m tired.



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

the table

a flower

an apple

Definite Article

the; refers to a noun which is already known, identifiable or specific.

The woman I met last week is very nice.

Indefinite Article

a/an; used with a noun that is unspecific, not yet determined or general; use an when the noun begins with a vowel sound.

We need to buy a new table.

Do you have an umbrella?


tenses indicate past or present while the tense aspect shows the action’s relation to time and therefore its nature; regular, completed, habitual, continuing, partially completed, etc.

See also: Tense

I had eaten my sandwich.
past tense; perfect aspect = completed action

I was eating my sandwich.
→ past tense; progressive aspect = incomplete/ongoing action


tense-aspect that shows that an action is completed, formed with have + past participle.

See also: Present Perfect Simple, Past Perfect Simple, Future Perfect

I have been to Greece.

They had eaten too much.

They will have arrived at the hotel by now.

Perfect Progressive

also: perfect continuous; combination of the perfect and progressive tense-aspects; shows that an action started in the past and is/was/will be in progress at a specific moment in time; formed with 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. 


also: continuous; tense-aspect that shows that an action is in progress or temporary, formed with 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.



Base Form

Basic Adjective/Adverb

base adjective/adverb; the standard form of an adjective or adverb; used in comparisons with as … as and is the starting point for the comparative forms

Compare: Comparative, Superlative

tall – taller – the tallest

Mark is not as tall as Paul.



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

a defining relative clause in which the relative pronoun is left out

Compare: Relative Clause

This is the computer [that] I bought last week.

Defining Relative Clause

also: restrictive relative clause; a relative clause that contains information that is essential for identifying who or what we are talking about; not set off by commas and cannot be omitted

Compare: Non-defining Relative Clause

The man who lives next door.

Dependent Clause

also: subordinate clause; a clause introduced by a subordinating conjunction (because, as, since); its meaning is incomplete without a main clause

Compare: Main Clause

I am happy because I am on holiday.


also: 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’ll stay at home.

Main Clause

also: 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

also: non-identifying relative clause, non-restrictive relative clause; a relative clause that gives additional, non-essential information; can be omitted without altering the meaning of the sentence; 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, present or perfect participle

See also: Past Participle, Present Participle, Perfect Participle

Running down the stairs, Cinderella lost her shoe.

Relative Clause

a dependent clause that gives additional or necessary information about an element in the preceding clause; 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



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

Compare: Superlative

tall – taller – the tallest

polite – more polite – the most polite

little – less – the least


word or group of words that complete the predicate; the complement usually follows the verb

See also: Linking Verb

Peter and Julia are doctors.

The news made them very happy.

Compound Noun

Conditional Clause


Conjugated Verb


when we change the form of a verb to reflect person, number, voice, mood and tense

See also: Finite Verb

be → 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 elements; these can be words, phrases, clauses or even entire 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; can express a 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



also: 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



also: affirmative, positive; a statement or fact that is positive in the grammatical sense (i.e. not negated and not a question)

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 identify it more specifically or assign it a quantity

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; includes complex sentences, the passive, technical vocabulary and no slang or short forms; usually used in academic and business contexts

Compare: Informal Language

While somewhat nervous, Laura is nonetheless looking forward to furthering her studies at a prestigious university on the coast.

Future Perfect

also: future perfect simple; tense that shows that an action will be completed by a certain time in the future, formed with will have + past participle

He will have finished work by ten.

Future Perfect Progressive

also: future perfect continuous; tense that indicates 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

also: future continuous; tense that expresses an action that will be in progress at a specific point in the future; formed with will be + present participle (-ing form)

This time tomorrow we will be doing our last ever exam.

Future Simple

name given to the future forms will + infinitive and going to + infinitive; used to express intentions, promises predictions and plans

I promise I will clean up later.

After university I’m going to take a gap year.




also: -ing form; a verb ending in -ing that 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



when we use the infinitive of the verb without a subject to express orders, commands, advice, instructions and suggestions


Be quiet, please.

Turn left at the corner.

Impersonal Passive

sentence where the reporting verb appears in the passive voice

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 punctuated by a question mark

I don’t know where the station is.

Could you tell me when the last train leaves.

Indirect Speech

reported speech; repeating what another person has said using a reporting verb (say, tell); we often need to change the tense, pronouns, time and place references

Compare: Direct Speech

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


also: base form; the 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 a bit nervous. But she’s happy about starting uni.



Intransitive Verb

Irregular Verb



Linking Verb


Main Clause

Main Verb

Mass Noun

Modal Verb



also: negation; when a sentence contains not to negate its meaning (i.e. a sentence that is not affirmative and not a question); we can also use words like nobody or nothing in negative sentences

Compare: , Question

The weather isn’t bad today.

I won’t be late.

Nobody came to the party.

Non-defining Relative Clause

Non-finite Verb

Non-identifying Relative Clause

Non-restrictive Relative Clause


also: common noun; a naming word that refers to a person, animal, concept, place, feeling, thing, etc.; always written lower case

See also: Pronoun

house, moon, air, people, idea

Abstract Noun

a noun that refers to a non-material object, i.e. an idea, quality or state

beauty, truth, safety, well-being

Collective Noun

also: group word; type of noun that refers to a group of people or things; when used as subjects many can take the singular or the plural

See also: Uncountable Noun

class, family, group, team

My family is/are visiting this week.

Compound Noun

noun made up 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

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

Compare: Uncountable Noun

one apple, two apples
Can I have an apple?

Plural Noun

a noun that only has a plural form; often ends in -s

scissors, sunglasses, trousers, jeans

Proper Noun

noun that refers to a particular person, animal, place or thing, often a name and always written with a capital letter

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

Uncountable Noun

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

Compare: Countable Noun

information, milk, wood


grammatical number refers to whether a noun, pronoun, determiner or verb is singular or plural

boy – boys

I – we

that – those

am – are


a word form that refers to more than one person or thing

The presents are for us.


word form that refers to just one person or thing

The present is for me.



the person or thing affected (directly or indirectly) by the action of the main verb; usually the noun, pronoun or phrase that follows the verb

Compare: Subject

I helped my neighbour.

Direct Object

person or thing directly affected by a transitive main verb

I bought a guitar.

Sam is eating a watermelon.

Indirect Object

in a sentence with two objects, the indirect object receives the direct object; in our example, the apple is given and the boy receives it; indirect objects are often people and are introduced by to or for

I gave the boy an apple.

I gave an apple to the boy.

Object Pronoun

Open Question



non-finite form of a verb used as a noun or adjective or as part of a compound verb tense

They have gone to the supermarket.

The lesson was boring.

Past Participle

also: -ed form, third form of the verb; non-finite verb form used in certain compound tenses, the passive voice and as an adjective

That apple is half-eaten.

I’ve never eaten octopus.

All of the cupcakes were eaten.

Perfect Participle

participle form used to show that an action was completed prior to another action; formed with having + past participle

Having said that, he left.

Present Participle

also: -ing form; when we add -ing to the infinitive of the verb; used to form progressive tenses, adjectives and participle clauses

Compare: Gerund

She was sitting on the sofa.

The film was interesting.

Being honest, I’d rather stay home.

Participle Clause


passive voice; sentence that focuses on the recipient of the action (the object); the person or thing performing the action (the subject) is unknown, unimportant or obvious; formed with be + past participle

Compare: Active

My bike was stolen last week.

The house was sold last year.

Smoking is forbidden.

Past Perfect Progressive

past perfect continuous; past tense that expresses how long an action had been in progress up to another point in this past, formed with had been + present participle

They had been working for 10 hours when their shift ended.

Past Perfect Simple

pluperfect; past tense that expresses an action that took place before a second past action; formed with had + past participle

I had already left the house when you called.

Past Progressive

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

Yesterday at 9 ’clock I was watching TV.


Perfect Progressive


grammatical person means the first person (the speaker), the second person (the addressee) and the third person (a third party); can be singular or plural and is indicated by pronouns, verb conjugation and possessives

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



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

See also: Possessive Pronoun

the bike’s handlebars

the handlebars of the bike


the part of the sentence that contains the verb(s) as well as information about the subject

We learn English.

The house is being built.


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

Compare: Suffix

impossible, unhappy, rediscover


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

in, of, on, at, with, for, since …

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


present tenses refer to things that are currently true and/or happening now

I am studying at the moment.

Carla studies at Oxford University.

Present Perfect Progressive

present perfect continuous; tense that expresses an action that started in the past and continues in the present; often used to show duration (how long); formed with have/has been + present participle

I have been working since 8 o'clock.

How long have you been living in Berlin?

Present Perfect Simple

tense that connects the past with the present; formed with have/has + past participle

I’ve already made dinner, we can eat soon.

I’ve tried scuba diving before.

Present Progressive

present continuous; tense that expresses an action that is currently in progress at the moment of speaking or a temporary action; also used for future arrangements; formed with am/is/are + present participle (-ing form)

Be quiet, I’m studying.

Rachel is living with her parents this summer.

I’m meeting Callum for coffee tomorrow.

Present Simple




modifies, refers to or replaces a noun

He thinks that she will help us.

Demonstrative Pronoun

demonstrative; specifies exactly which person or thing is being referred to, allows us to identify specific elements in a group

this, that, these, those

This isn’t my car, that’s my car over there.

Indefinite Pronoun

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

See also: Demonstrative Pronoun


someone/anyone/no one/everyone

I have nothing to wear for the party, I need something new.

Object Pronoun

replaces a noun that is the object of a sentence

Compare: Subject Pronoun

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

He gave me a watch.

Please help us.

Personal Pronoun

pronouns that replace 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 replace a noun and simultaneously indicate possession/ownership

See also: Determiner

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

Please, help yourself to snacks.

Relative Pronoun

pronoun that introduces a relative clause

see also: Relative Clause

who, which, that

Jenna is the girl who delivers newspapers.

This is the new table that we bought.

Subject Pronoun

replaces a noun that is the subject of the sentence

Compare: Object Pronoun

I, you, he, she, it, we, you, they

Helen is a teacher, she teaches maths.

Proper Noun



a determiner, pronoun or phrase used before a noun to indicate quantity or amount

See also: Determiner, Pronoun

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

Many people learn Spanish as a foreign language.


interrogative; clause that aims to gather information; requires a response from the speaking partner; formed with auxiliary + subject + infinitive

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, can be answered with 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, preceded by a comma

You know each other, don’t you?

Katja doesn’t eat meat, does she?

Question Word

wh-words; used to form wh-questions, allow us to ask specifically about a time, place, reason, person, thing, manner, etc.

See also: Wh-question

who, what, when, where, why, which, how

Where do you live?

When did you arrive?


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 up of one or more clauses, contains a verb and a subject

See also: Clause, Phrase

I am very happy about the news.

Short Answer

polite response to yes-no questions; formed with yes/no + subject + auxiliary

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 acts as a signal for a particular tense

I bought a new bike yesterday.

I have just tidied up my room.

Simple Past

preterite, past simple; the basic past tense; expresses actions that were completed in the past, often with specific time markers

We went to the cinema yesterday.

Tom didn’t pass his driving test last month.

Simple Present

present simple; the basic present tense; expresses regular actions and events that occur in the present as well as facts; also used for scheduled/timetabled future events

They get up early every day.

The rises in the east and sets in the west.

The train leaves at 7am tomorrow morning.


Stative Verb


emphasis; when more emphasis is placed on a particular syllable in a word or on a particular word in a sentence; every word in English with more than one syllable has a stress

pronunciation (third syllable is stressed)

controversy (first syllable is stressed)


the person or thing that 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

Compare: Object

The boy is reading a book to his sister.

His sister is bored.

Subject Pronoun


special present tense form used in set expressions and that-clauses in formal English, 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



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

Compare: Prefix

hopeless, sweetness, without


an adjective or adverb formed with the suffix -est or the word most, expresses the highest degree of a particular quality and usually introduced by the

Compare: Comparative

tall – taller – the tallest

polite – more polite – the most polite

little – less – the least


singular unit of pronunciation; one unbroken sound usually made up of a vowel or vowel sound and surrounding consonants

cat (one syllable)

po-lite-ly (three syllables)



form of a verb that indicates whether an action takes place in the past, present or future; contains an aspect that indicates the action’s nature (simple, progressive, completed, etc.)

Compare: Aspect

He is speaking.

He spoke.

He will speak.

To-infinitive passive

Transitive Verb


Uncountable Noun



action word, doing word; word that expresses an action, experience or condition

See also: Noun, Adjective, Adverb

learn, go, speak

I speak English.


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

See also: Main Verb, Modal Verb

I am working.

The students have left.

I don’t like cheese. 


Finite Verb

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

Compare: Infinitive

Clara is a doctor, she works at a busy hospital.

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 that carries the meaning of a clause; expresses an action, process or state of being

Compare: Auxiliary, Modal Verb

We have worked.

She is going to leave.

They can go home now.

Modal Verb

modal auxiliary; verb with only one form; alters the meaning of a main verb to express certainty, obligation, wish, ability etc.; usually followed by an infinitive

Compare: Main Verb, Auxiliary, Infinitive

I can swim.

He must go.

We should do that.

Non-finite Verb

non-conjugated 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

I’m looking forward to my holiday, but first I need to look for my passport.

Regular Verb

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

Compare: Irregular Verb

work – worked – worked

Stative Verb

state verb; verb that describes a state or condition and not an action; not usually used in progressive tenses

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

Transitive Verb

a verb that requires a direct object in order to make sense

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