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  • Lies Your Grammar Teacher Told You: Possessive Pronouns and Possessive Determiners
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    Lies Your Grammar Teacher Told You: Possessive Pronouns and Possessive Determiners

    As I have written repeatedly, the line between grammatical forms is blurry at best, especially among lexical categories like noun, verb, and adjective. Grammatical form and grammatical function distinguish one word class from other. The lines between functional categories are typically much clearer than the lines between lexical categories. As closed classes that do not […] More

  • Not All Forms That Function as Adverbials Are Adverbs
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    Not All Forms That Function as Adverbials Are Adverbs

    The other day I read a tweet that made some claims about adverbs: “The -s in “unawares,” as in “they were caught unawares,” is completely distinct from the pluralizing -s. It’s an adverb suffix, and it’s also in “always” and “nowadays,” and in “nights,” “weekends,” etc., as in “they work nights/weekends.” #FunWithMorphology” The -s in […] More

  • Determiners Are Not Adjectives
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    Determiners Are Not Adjectives

    Traditional grammars categorize determiners with either adjectives or pronouns. But determiners are not adjectives. Repeat after me: Determiners are not adjectives. Notional grammars define adjectives as “words that modify nouns.” Adjectives describe attributes of nouns, pronouns, and noun phrases, functioning as noun phrase modifiers, subject complements, and object complements. Determiners provide non-attributive information such as […] More

  • Copular English Verbs
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    Copular English Verbs

    Traditional grammars define verbs as “action or state of being words.” Main verbs, or principal verbs, fall into five categories in English grammar. Copular verbs are English verbs that link the subject complement in the predicate to the grammatical subject. Copular verbs are similar to intransitive verbs and thus cannot occur within passive constructions. Some […] More

  • Intransitive English Verbs
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    Intransitive English Verbs

    Notional grammars define verbs as “action or state of being words.” Main verbs, or principal verbs, fall into five categories in English grammar. Intransitive verbs are English verbs that cannot or do not take objects. Intransitive verbs cannot occur within passive constructions. Some common intransitive English verbs include the following: collapse cough cry die disappear […] More

  • Possessive Pronouns in English Grammar
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    Possessive Pronouns in English Grammar

    Pronouns are small words that can take the place of other grammatical forms such as nouns and noun phrases. Possessive pronouns express possession of or some other relationship to another word or phrase and can perform five grammatical functions: subject, subject complement, direct object, indirect object, and prepositional complement. Pronouns from three categories of pronouns […] More

  • Using Prepositional Phrases as Subject Complements
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    Using Prepositional Phrases as Subject Complements

    Prepositions are notionally defined by traditional grammars as a word that “links to other words, phrases, and clauses” and that “expresses spatial or temporal relations.” A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition plus another word, phrase, or clause functioning as the prepositional complement. In grammar, a subject complement is a word, phrase, or clause that […] More

  • Using Verbs and Verb Phrases as Subject Complements
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    Using Verbs and Verb Phrases as Subject Complements

    Verbs are traditionally defined as “words that denote an action or a state of being.” A verb phrase is a grammatical structure that consists of a verb that functions as the verb phrase head plus any auxiliary verbs, particles, modifiers, complements, and objects. In grammar, a subject complement is a word, phrase, or clause that […] More

  • Subject Pronouns in English Grammar
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    Subject Pronouns in English Grammar

    Pronouns are small words that can take the place of nouns, noun phrases, and other grammatical forms. Subject pronouns are pronouns that perform two functions in clauses: subject and subject complement. Subjects are words, phrases, and clauses that perform the action of or act upon the verb. Subject complements are words, phrases, and clauses that […] More

  • English Noun Clauses
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    English Noun Clauses

    Noun clauses are independent, or subordinate, clauses that perform nominal functions. Clauses are grammatical structures that contain a subject and a predicate. Grammatical Forms Grammatical Forms of English Noun Clauses explains the internal structure of noun clauses in English. Forming Noun Clauses from Questions explains the formation of noun clauses from interrogative constructions. Grammatical Functions […] More

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