Glossary of Terms

Spelling, Punctuation & Grammar - Glossary of Terms

This is a basic list of definitions and examples of terms used in spelling, punctuation and grammar.

TermSymbolDefinitionExample
Adjective A describing word that is added to nouns to describe what kind, colour, size, which one or how many.The big, hairy, brown dog was taking a nap on the leather sofa.
Adverb A describing word that is added to verbs to tell us where, when, how, in what way or to what extent an action is performed.* Stacy carefully coloured in her art poster.
* The bus arrived late.
Antonym A word that means the opposite to another word.* Hot is an antonym of cold.
Fast and quick are antonyms of slow.
Apostrophe
These are used to show missing letters and to show possession.* It is becomes it's.
* The dog chewed up Lenny's slippers.
Article The words the, a or an which go before a noun.cat ran across the road in front of car.
Brackets
These are used to separate extra information in a sentence.Jacob (in class 2B) had the main role in the school play.
Capital letter These are used at the start of a sentence and for proper nouns.  'I' is always written with a capital letter.There was a party at Mat's house on Saturday.
Clause A part of a sentence that has a verb and someone doing the action.Mark plays football every Sunday.
Colon
These are used to introduce some lists and to join sentences.I need to get the following for the birthday party: balloons, a cake, candles, party hats and a card.
Comma
These are used to separate items in a list, separate extra information and to join clauses.* Fred bought a pair of shoes, a cap, two pairs of socks and a magazine.
* Ryan's brother, who is a year older than him, is always late.
* When the summer holiday is over, we will be starting secondary school.
Compound Word When two words are put together to form a new word with a new meaning.

"Lady" and "bird" together makes "ladybird".

"Cup" and "board" together makes "cupboard".

Connective A word or words used to link two clauses or sentences.I baked some cupcakes today and they tasted delicious.
Contraction When two words are joined together with an apostrophe to make a new word.'Do not' can be contracted to 'Don't'.
Dash
These are used to separate extra information in a sentence.Best friends Jo and Kev loved building model cars.
Direct speech The actual words that are said by someone.John shouted, "Wait for me!"
Ellipses
These can be used to add suspense, leave a sentence hanging or to show an interruption in speech.* Shelly turned the handle of the front door and it creaked open slowly...
* "Er...I was hoping you could maybe...help me out?"
Exclamation mark
These are used to show strong feelings and for some commands.* The trapeze act at the circus was amazing!
* Be quiet!
Full stop
These are used to show the end of a sentence.I went to dance class yesterday.  We are performing at a gala next week.
Homophone Words that sound the same but have a different meaning.* Greg went to the park today.
* I want a piece of cake too.
* There were two squirrels in the tree.
Hyphen
These are used to join two words together to make a single unit or one meaning.Isla bought some free-range eggs at the market.
Inverted commas
These are used to show direct speech."It's time to tidy up," said Miss Dale.
Main clause The important part of a sentence that would make sense on its own.Catherine played the piano until her fingers ached.
Noun A "naming" word that names a person, place or thing.Kerry went to the cinema on Tuesday to watch the new Disney film.
Phrase A small part of a sentence that usually does not have a verb in it.Selina watched a film at the cinema.
Plural More that one of something.There were lots of birds in the sky.
Prefix Letters than can be put in front of a word to change its meaning.Andy was unhappy that he had to miss the football match this week.
Preposition A word that tells you how things are related.Poppy roasted some marshmallows over the campfire.
Pronoun A word that can be used instead of a noun.Liam finished his homework quickly as it was due tomorrow.
Question mark
These are used at the end of a question.What is your favourite food?
Reported speech This is what someone has said but not in their own words.Sam told me that he went to Blackpool last week.
Semi-colon
These are used to separate lists of longer things and to join sentences.In school today, class 3 had literacy hour; played rounders; went on a nature walk; and made a poster.
Subordinate clause The less important part of a sentence which would not make sense on its own.The dog chased after the ball until it was out of breath.
Suffix Letters that can be put after a word to change its meaning.Mr Trussel marked class 7T's homework carefully.
Synonym A word with the same or a similar meaning to another word.Glad, cheerful, delighted and pleased are all synonyms of happy.
Verb A doing or being word.* Hannah was looking out of the window.
* Danny is happy that it's finally the weekend.
STAFF LOGIN
PARENT LOGIN

Contact us

Halton Virtual School

Halton Borough Council,
Rutland House Floor 1,
Halton Lea, Runcorn WA7 2GW