The Englicious Glossary includes the new National Curriculum glossary terms, which are shown against a white background. However, there's much more to be found here:

  • we have added many entries that we feel are important, but cannot be found in the NC Glossary (e.g. connective), and
  • in many cases we have added information to the often very brief NC entries that need further explanation (e.g. clause and phrase).

Please note that in line with our practice throughout the site, we use capital letters for function terms such as Subject, Direct Object, Indirect Object, Modifier, etc. Although this convention is not followed in the documentation published by the Department for Education we have also done so in the text that forms part of the National Curriculum Glossary.

Tip: Within our units and resources, Glossary items appear highlighted within the text. When you hover over them, or click on them in the Slideshow, a popup is generated.

-ed participle

See past participle and participle.


Ellipsis is the omission of a word or phrase which is expected and predictable.

  • Frankie waved to Ivana and [she] watched her drive away.
  • She did it because she wanted to [do it].

In addition to grammatical ellipsis, the term ellipsis can also refer to the punctuation mark written with three dots: ...


A word’s etymology is its history: its origins in earlier forms of English or other languages, and how its form and meaning have changed. Many words in English have come from Greek, Latin or French.

  • The word school was borrowed from a Greek word σχολή (skholé) meaning 'leisure'.
  • The word verb comes from Latin verbum, meaning 'word'.
  • The word mutton comes from French mouton, meaning 'sheep'.


The general definition of an exclamation is an utterance that expresses an emotion such as surprise, anger or admiration. In the National Curriculum the term is used is a specialised way. Exclamations in the NC are defined as having a particular structure: they need to contain what or how. For example, What a wonderful sight they are! What a beautiful day! How amazing you are! Please note that in the NC an exclamation mark after a sentence is not enough to turn it into an exclamation (defined as a pattern with what or how), so the following sentence is not an exclamation, but a statement, despite the exclamation mark: This is a wonderful event! We see in this last example that it's perfectly fine to add an exclamation mark after sentences that do not have what or how in them; it's just that in the NC they are not exclamations, because these are defined as particular structural patterns.

exclamative clause

An alternative label for exclamation, as defined in the National Curriculum. This is a clause type which generally starts with an exclamative phrase containing what or how, and is typically used to make an exclamation. Examples are What a fuss he made! and How tall she is! The exclamative phrase comes first even when it is not the Subject, so there is often a special word order (compare with the usual order in He made a big fuss or She is very tall).

existential there

The word there that we find in sentences or clauses that are concerned with the existence of people, things, etc. E.g. There is a cat in the garage. See also locative there.

expanded noun phrase

An expanded noun phrase is a noun phrase that has elements in it other than a determiner and a noun.

The National Curriculum GPS Test Framework characterises expanded NPs as ‘noun phrases expanded by the addition of modifying adjectives, nouns and preposition phrases to convey complicated information concisely’.


The movement of a string of words to the left or to the right in a sentence. For example, in the sentence It is wonderful to see you, the Subject clause to see you has been moved to a sentence-final position, and nonreferential it has been put in its place. The canonical form of the sentence (without extraposition) would be To see you is wonderful.
Englicious (C) Survey of English Usage, UCL, 2012-15 | Supported by the AHRC and EPSRC. | Cookies