Grammatical glossary

A glossary of some of the terms used in the language courses, and descriptions of sentences.


Inflected languages use cases. In an inflected language, nouns and adjectives have different endings (cases) depending on the meaning and purpose required by the words in the sentence.

Examples of languages which use cases are
Latin, the Slavic languages (e.g. Russian or Polish), and the germanic lanuages.

An example (taken from Polish) is piję herbatę 'I drink tea'. '

In Polish, the object of a sentence uses the accusative case, and in this example the word 'tea' 'is changed from the nominative herbata to the accusative case herbatę.


Nouns in many languages often have a gender. These are commonly masculine, feminine and neuter.

In some languages, the noun gender is normally obvious from the word ending (e.g. Spanish words ending in 'a' are almost always feminine.). In others, such as German, the gender of each noun has to be learnt. 'Der Wein' (the wine) is masculine but 'Das Bier' (the beer) is neuter.

Important Grammatical consequences flow from the gender of a noun.


A noun is a naming word that names a person, object or concept. Nouns may be Abstract ot Proper. A Proper Noun refers to a particualar person, animal, place, country and so on and is capitalized. An Abstract Noun is one which is not concrete and refers to an idea such as 'freedom'.

Important Grammatical consequences flow from the gender of a noun.


A preposition is a word which shows the relationship of a noun to the rest of the sentence. Prepositions are words such as in, on, for, with and at.

In many languages a preposition comes immediately before the noun it governs. E.g. Spanish 'sin agua' (without water), Latin 'in taberna' (in the tavern ) or Greek 'Με γάλα' (with milk).



A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun. The English personal pronouns are words such as 'I', 'you', 'he', 'she', 'we' and 'they'.'