University of Southampton

Glossary for the EAP Toolkit


a short form of a longer word, e.g. abbrev. (abbreviation); cttee (committee)


a statement that summarises the main points of an academic article or a dissertation. As well as a summary of the main points, it is likely to include information about conclusions and results


a word which is composed of the first letters of the words it refers to, e.g. VAT = value added tax

active voice

also known as the active form (as opposed to the passive form), it can be produced for all verbs and in all tenses. When using an active structure, the verb must agree with its subject (the agent) and not its object, e.g. The student (subject) is writing (active verb form in present continuous tense in third person) an essay (object).


a word which gives more information about a noun, e.g. compatible interface, technical support

adjective phrase

a phrase in which the headword is an adjective. In the sentence 'The new bridge will be the second longest in the world,' the adjective phrase is 'the second longest in the world'


a word which tells you more about a verb or an adjective, e.g. wireless technology is evolving rapidly, a widely adopted system

adverbial clause

a subordinate clause that begins with an adverb or adverbial phrase

adverbial connector

adverbs and adverbial phrases can join main and subordinate clauses. There are many such adverbials - consequently, in addition, moreover, in the meantime, nevertheless, etc - each indicating a particular relationship between the clauses (e.g. cause and effect, concession, time). Examples: In the late 1800s, there was a revival of interest in such works The experiment was conducted in secrecy

adverb phrase

a phrase in which the headword is an adverb or adverbial (an adverb consisting of a group of words). In the sentence 'Results are expected at the end of this year.', the adverb phrase is 'at the end of this year'


word element (morpheme) that is attached to the front or back of a base word to form a new word. Example: 'tion' (e.g. communication); 'con' (e.g. 'context'); 'inter' (e.g. 'international')


to have a list ordered according to the letters of the alphabet


someone taking part in an activity for pleasure, not as a job


to examine something carefully and in detail in order to understand it


add an opinion, explanation or query in note form to a text; abbreviations, symbols and highlighting are often used


a word which has an opposite meaning to another word, e.g. 'careless' is an antonym of 'careful'


(words, phrases) which are no longer used today (e.g. thee, thou = 'you')


a word such as a/an (indefinite articles), the (definite article) which has no meaning by itself, and which you use in front of a noun or noun phrase, e.g. a database is the electronic equivalent of an indexed filing cabinet


a part of a situation, subject, or problem (e.g. to disagree with several aspects of an argument)


communication (text-based or voice-based) not requiring participants to be present at the same time, e.g. email, discussion board


to acknowledge (in writing) that a piece of work or an idea is the work of someone else; if you attribute the sources, you can avoid plagiarism


the people who read something (e.g. your essay), or the people who watch or listen to something (a play, concert, somebody speaking, etc.)


something that you can trust and respect as true and correct

auxiliary verb

in the following example - 'Researchers have studied...' - the auxiliary verb is has


to have a dislike for something (e.g. to have an aversion to debt means to dislike owing money)

bank holiday

a national public holiday; on these days, some shops may open and public transport runs, but banks and offices are closed

base word

a word or word part from which other words can be made by adding a prefix or suffix. Example: In 'transport',' import' and 'export' the base word is 'port'


a tendency to support or oppose something in an unfair way by allowing personal opinions to influence your judgment (e.g. the biased reporting of political events)

bibliographic record (or entry)

information about a published source; there are conventions governing the kind of information that should be included in a bibliographic record and how it should be set out


involving 2 languages; this might refer to a type of dictionary, for example, in which terms are translated from one language to another, e.g. an English-Chinese dictionary


a term used in relation to computer security: techniques used to authenticate the user's identity using computer analysis of their physical characteristics. Example: fingerprint scanning


to think of all the ideas related to a particular concept or topic by noting them down or saying them aloud in no particular order

cashpoint card

a plastic card with a magnetic strip or chip, used to withdraw money from a cashpoint


in a way which relates to time order. Example: The history teacher described chronologically the events which led to the war


a 'chunk' of e.g. listening or reading text, refers to a small section or part of it


instead of focussing on language word-by-word, chunking involves focusing on using language in groups of words which go together ('collocations'). Example: 'The Prime Minister is going to chair a meeting.' Three groups of words can be 'chunked' in this example: '(The) Prime Minister', 'is going to', 'chair a meeting'


in academic writing, to name or refer to another writer as the source of information in your text


in national society, a section of the population which has a similar social and economic status, e.g. working class, middle class, upper class, aristocracy


a group of words consisting of the minimum of a subject (a noun phrase) and a predicate (sometimes just a single verb). A sentence may be composed of a single clause or a number of clauses. Example: 'Note-taking is an important academic skill.' = a single clause or sentence. 'An important academic skill' = a phrase NOT a clause or sentence


how the different ideas expressed as sentences in an academic text 'hold together' to create one single text. Cohesive devices include the use of linking words that point forwards, backwards or make clear the relationships between ideas


to invent new words, e.g. to coin a phrase


to fit together naturally; words which typically go together are said to 'collocate'. Examples: user-friendly; sit down; lose your head; a major consideration; to a certain extent


this term refers to the way in which some words are frequently used together, e.g. you can 'settle a bill' but not 'agree a bill' because agree and bill are not collocations of one another


informal use of language (e.g. the style of speech used socially among friends)

complement (of a subject)

in a clause, the part that completes and describes the subject is often referred to as the complement. This may consist of the verb 'to be' or a copular verb and an adjective. Examples: 'This essay is excellent'; 'The business became successful'


a word or words which consist of other words joined or used together to make a lexical item with its own meaning, e.g. a trade deficit (a noun compound), mass-produced goods (an adjectival compound)


a principle or idea about something (e.g. the concept of infinite space)

concise writing

Writing, usually in an academic or formal context, which is uses the minimum number of words to express a point for the meaning to be clear


the use of computer software to make lists of words used in a book or other work (e.g. The Times Newspaper) and give the user information about where the words can be found and in which sentences in the text.


an online tool for searching a body of texts for instances of a particular word or group of words


reduce a text to its key arguments and information; the condensed text is considerably shorter that the original, e.g. notetaking is a way of condensing long spoken or written texts


a word or group of words that you can use to join together other words or groups of words, e.g. and, however. A conjunction joins two main clauses. They can be joined as a single sentence or as two separate sentences. Examples of common conjunctions: and, but (coordinating conjunctions); when, because, which (subordinating conjunctions)


a word or phrase used, for example, to order the different stages of a description of a process, e.g. firstly, next, consequently


one of 21 letters in the English alphabet, namely, 'b,c,d,f,g,h,j,k,l,m,n,p,q,r,s,t,v,w,x,y,z'


the situation in which something happens; the words and sentences which surround other words and sentences and which help you to understand them

coordinating conjunction

the words and, but, or, so, nor are co-ordinating conjunctions. They join two main clauses to make a single sentence. E.g. A new species was discovered when the plant was examined

council tax

a tax paid to local government in the UK, calculated on the basis of the value of property and number of inhabitants. Students are not considered inhabitants for the purposes of this calculation and therefore are not normally required to pay this tax

countable noun

a noun which has a plural form; a plural noun can end in '-s' (computers), '-es' (addresses) or sometimes '-ies' (libraries). A few have irregular endings, e.g. 'analysis' and 'analyses'

counter argument

an argument that opposes another argument by challenging it or giving a different view


a geographical and sometimes administrative area of the UK. A typical UK county will contain three or four major towns, and a county town, which is the administrative centre of the county

culture shock

the changing experiences and feelings that people have when they move to a new country and culture; these feelings may include anxiety and frustration

current account

a bank account designed for regular financial transactions, with little or no interest paid. A cheque book and cashpoint card are normally supplied with this account

data sets

data which is organised or categorised into different groups according to the information they provide

definite article

the determiner, 'the'. See also article

defining relative clause

a clause in a complex sentence which defines/identifies a main clause and is attached to it using a relative pronoun, e.g. The student that I met is from London. Here, the main clause is 'The student is from London'; the defining relative clause is '(The student) that (=relative pronoun) I met'. Note that a comma is not used to separate the defining relative clause from the main clause.

department store

a large shop on several floors, which sells a wide range of products, very often including clothing, household items, furniture and sometimes food

dependent (or subordinate) clause

a dependent clause is a clause which is added to an independent clause. It cannot stand alone as a sentence as its meaning is incomplete. It is sometimes called a subordinate clause.

dependent prepositions

prepositions which go together (or collocate) with other words (verbs, nouns and adjectives e.g. interested in)

deposit account

a bank account normally used for saving money, with interest paid on the balance, and often with restrictions on withdrawals. Sometimes referred to as a 'Savings account'. No chequebook is usually available with this account


a word which is used before a noun or noun phrase to modify it, i.e. to make clear which particular person or thing is meant, or to give information about quantity, e.g. 'the'/'my'/'Liz's'/'this' computer, 'both' computers


a conversation between two or more people


to digress means to go away from the agreed topic during a conversation or in a text

discourse marker

an expression used to highlight a part of speech or portion of a text to a listener or reader. For example, a discourse marker may signal importance. E.g. words and expressions used to show the links between ideas - in discourse or the speaker's attitude. Typical academic discourse markers are e.g. whereas, however, similarly, despite this


to recognise a difference between things (or people)

discussion forum

a virtual place, often within a Managed Learning Environment/Platform such as Blackboard or Moodle, where a community of people can exchange messages asynchronously to discuss something. Also called a 'Discussion Board'


an extended piece of academic writing (c.10000-25000 words in length) on a particular subject required for some university courses, particularly as masters level


to add more information about something or explain what has been said


a symbol, also known as a smiley, which uses characters from the computer keyboard to express feelings or intended tone of a communication (e.g. joke). Such symbols are common in informal channels of electronic communication especially chat rooms. For example: ;-) = winking smiley, :-( = sad smiley


to improve the good quality, value or status of something (or somebody). Example: He installed more RAM into his PC, thus enhancing the computer's ability to complete many tasks at the same time.

ethical issues

a system of accepted beliefs which control behaviour, especially such a system based on morals (e.g. it is ethically wrong to plagiarise)


to form an opinion of the amount, value or quality of something after thinking about it carefully


something that gives proof or reason for believing or agreeing with something.


to provide an explanation, about a topic for example. Especially used in reference to writing where the aim is to inform the reader


parts or pieces of text that have been taken from a single, longer text


descriptive of words or phrases which are used in a different way from the usual meaning; figurative language is often used to give a vivid mental image. Example: The peace talks between the two enemies were torpedoed by the sudden increase in military operations. (Here 'torpedoed' is not used in its 'real' sense, but is used figuratively)

figurative idiom

an idiom whose meaning can be interpreted as a metaphor (e.g. put off = 'postpone')


a sound, word, or expression, generally without meaning, that is used by a speaker to fill a pause when he or she speaking; often used while the speaker searches for how to continue. Examples of fillers: sounds: um..., er..., words/expressions: well, you know, you see...

finite verb

a verb has two forms - finite and non-finite. A finite verb is the form which shows tense (e.g. past or present), aspect and number (singular or plural). Every sentence must contain a subject and a finite verb, which is its main verb.

flow chart

a schematic way of representing a sequence or process, using a series of text boxes connected by lines and/or arrows. Example: a flow chart representing a manufacturing process


describing a style of language suitable for serious or important purposes (e.g. a judge talking in a courtroom, or scientific research)

fossil fuels

fuel such as coal or oil, that was formed over millions of years from the remains of animals or plants

freshers' fair

held in the first week of term or the week before, a fresher's fair is an event where student union societies and clubs present themselves to new students

general practitioner

a medical doctor who you can go to in the first instance if you have non-emergency health problems


to produce or create something, for example 'generate electricity', 'generate ideas'


a type of text related to its purpose (e.g. a contract designed to state the conditions of a legal agreement; a formal letter of complaint)


a noun which is made from the 'ing' form of a verb (e.g. Jogging is a good way of keeping fit)

gerund phrase

a phrase beginning with a gerund. e.g. Making a profit is what all companies try to do

gloss (v)

to give a brief definition of something so that the reader or listener has a general idea of what it means

grammatical idiom

an idiom which includes a function word such as a preposition (e.g. on purpose = 'deliberately')

group work

a way of learning used in many academic contexts; students are asked to work together on a learning task and benefit from the discussion and exchange of ideas


in a phrase the headword is the word that is modified by everything else in the phrase. For example: in the noun phrase 'University lecturers with more than three years' experience' the headword is the noun 'lecturers'; in the prepositional phrase 'in this part of the body' the headword is the preposition 'in'.


to avoid stating a point too definitely by qualifying it, especially in academic writing. Examples of ways to hedge: adverbs (possibly, perhaps) modal verbs (could, might, may)


customs, traditions and family values and practices which are passed from generation to generation


to attract attention to something or emphasize its importance (e.g. to highlight the main points in an argument)


unpredictable acts of aggression, violence and destruction towards things or people, e.g. the aggression that is associated with the actions of some football supporters


an idea or explanation for something that is based on known facts but has not yet been proved


this term is used to refer to a group of words that has a special meaning which is not related to the literal meaning of each word, e.g. 'to pull your weight' = to do your fair share of the work like everyone else


containing an idiom. Example: Native speakers of a language usually use lot of idiomatic language

independent clause

an independent clause is a clause that can stand alone with complete meaning. It is also called a main clause (in a sentence with more than one clause) or can take the form of a simple sentence.

indefinite article

the determiners, 'a/an'. See also article


to form an understanding or to interpret the meaning of what someone else says or writes, e.g. students infer meanings from what is written in texts or from what teachers say


the infinitive is the base form of the verb. It usually occurs with 'To' (e.g. to research) and shows no person or tense. It may also occur without 'to', for example, after auxiliary verbs including modal auxiliary verbs. See also auxiliary verb

infinitive clause

a clause that begins with a 'to + infinitive' form of a verb. For example: To understand the processes involved, it is necessary to ...

infinitive phrase

A phrase beginning with a verb in the 'to + infinitive' form. e.g. To understand this phenomenon we must first examine...


to explain the meaning of something in another way


this refers to the rises and falls of a person's voice to convey meaning when speaking


this term refers to a verb which cannot be followed by a direct object, e.g. 'to fall': the dollar has fallen in value recently


to reverse the order of something or turn it upside down. In grammar this refers to changing the order of words in questions and statements (e.g. Statement: They were there yesterday. Question: Were they there yesterday?)


alone or detached from other people or things


words or expressions used by a profession which other people find difficult to understand (legal jargon)

key points

very important points, for example in a lecture

key words

very important words, for example in a text


someone who grants use of a house or apartment, and who charges a fee, known as rent


the usual or normal meaning of a word. Example: The translation was poor because too many literal meanings of words, based on dictionary definitions, were included

learning object

an item of online learning material containing a task and possibly a resource, such as an audio file


a formal speech made to an audience, usually made by lecturers in academic programmes where the audiences are students

lexical verb (a main verb expressing content rather than function)

in the following verb group - has been studied - the lexical verb is 'study'. E.g. The two countries had previously signed an economic pact


refers to the capability of something - what something (e.g. a computer) can do or cannot do.

main clause

a main clause expresses a complete idea and can stand alone as a complete sentence. E.g. The company whose brand had been copied decided to sue


a good feature that deserves praise, reward or admiration


a word or phrase used to describe somebody or something in an imaginative way, in order to make ideas or descriptions more powerful or easier to understand. Metaphor consists of language that expresses parallels between things or concepts E.g. The internet is a gateway to a vast amount of information


a visual representation of the components or associations of a topic. In the form of a diagram usually radiating from a central theme, concept or object


a memory device, or way of helping yourself to remember something. Example: an invented story containing all the elements that you need to remember


a verb which is used with another verb to express such ideas as possibility, ability, and necessity, e.g. computers can perform a wide range of tasks


a word, phrase, or clause which qualifies the meaning of a word or word group. Example: The extremely wet and windy weather conditions prevented a further attempt at sailing to France.


involving one language. This may refer to a type of dictionary, for example, in which definitions are given in the same language as the terms being defined, e.g. a French-French dictionary


a speech spoken by one person. Examples: a lecture, a presentation

multi-word verb

a combination of a verb and a particle (adverb or preposition) that forms a single unit (e.g. look after)


an area of science which studies, develops and produces extremely small tools and machines by controlling the arrangement of individual atoms

natural languages

a 'natural language' is any of the languages naturally used by humans, i.e. not an artificial or man-made language such as a programming language


to find your position or the position of your ship, plane, car, or where you are in a website etc. and the direction you need to go in, for example by using a map or website menu


short form of Internet etiquette; a set of rules or guidelines to govern online behaviour particularly when posting messages to discussion forums and chat rooms

NHS (National Health Service) Direct service

a 24-hour, seven-day a week, national health advice service, available via the Internet web site or by telephone


to 'occupy a niche' in research is to do research work in a particular area where previously little or none had been done


forming a noun from another word part, often a verb or an adjective. Example: 'communication' from the word 'communicate', in the sentence: communication has been established


to formally suggest that somebody should be chosen for an important role, prize, position, etc

non-finite verb

a verb has two forms - finite and non-finite. A non-finite verb has no subject, tense or number. The infinitive, the gerund and the participle are non-finite forms of the verb.


a word which refers to a person (e.g. programmer), thing (e.g. computer), substance (e.g. ink), place (e.g. library) or quality (e.g. length)

noun clause

noun clauses are clauses that act like nouns in a main clause. There are two main types: those formed from statements, beginning with that; and those formed from questions, beginning with a question word such as how, what, which, why, etc. Example: what the investigation will reveal is not yet clear

noun phrase

this consists of a noun or pronoun with determiners and/or adjectives and/or adverbs and/or verbs, which singly or as part of a group of words functions as a noun phrase. Examples; Erasmus was born in Holland in the fifteenth century. The migration of lemmings takes place when the population density reaches a critical point.


the person or thing to which the action described by the verb in a sentence is 'done to' (e.g. 'Cows produce milk.', the object of this sentence is 'milk')

objective (adj)

based on facts rather than personal opinion

organising principle

a method of organising the ideas that form the argument of an essay into a logical order; for example, a writer might organise his/her ideas for an essay by order of topic


a written statement in which somebody expresses something that somebody else has written using different words, and which includes a reference to the original writer


extra information, given in addition to the main text in a sentence; commonly written in brackets (parentheses), within the sentence

part of speech

a category of words that share the same use, i.e. represent the same part of speech. Examples: Verbs, nouns, conjunctions

participial phrase

a phrase beginning with a present or past participle. Examples: Given the arid conditions, the crop failed. Having composed the symphony, he abandoned his musical career.


part of a phrasal verb that involves a preposition and contributes to its meaning, e.g. 'to put up with' - 'up' and 'with' are both particles

passive voice

also known as the passive form (as opposed to the active form) and applied to the verb. This form can be produced for any transitive verb (that can take an object) and involves the object becoming the subject of a statement and the use of the verb 'to be' in its construction


refers to different ways of regarding or thinking about something - points of view

phonetic alphabet

this is an alphabet which covers all the sounds used in English; there are 44 phonetic symbols for British English

phrasal verb

this is a verb combined with a preposition or adverb or both which, when used together, take on a different meaning from the individual words, e.g. 'how did the merger come about?' = How did the merger happen?


this is is a group of words which form a small unit of meaning within a sentence. A phrase is less than a clause and lacks an active verb.

pin number

a four digit code or 'numerical password' used to verify your identity when using a cashpoint, debit, or credit card. This should not be disclosed to anybody - even bank employees


the highness or lowness of the sound of a voice e.g. baritone and bass are both low-pitch in opera singing


plagiarism involves the act of copying another person's words or pretending that their ideas are your own especially in academic written work. You must acknowledge the source when you paraphrase another writer's work


a form of a countable word which expresses more than one. Examples: people; topics

possessive pronoun

a group of pronouns used instead of nouns to show possession or ownership. Examples: their, our, your, mine, its, ours


a modifier that comes after the word it is modifying. Example: this year the hurricanes were particularly destructive (particularly destructive modifies 'hurricanes')

pound sterling

the main unit of currency in the UK, one pound consisting of one hundred pence. One pound sterling will buy two loaves of bread or three pints of milk

precise writing

writing, usually in an academic or formal context, which records all factual detail carefully and accurately


the quality of being exact. Example: The surgeon performed the cut on the patient with complete precision


the two main parts of a sentence are the subject and the predicate. The predicate modifies the subject and consists of the verb and any complement of the verb such as an object, adverbial etc.


a reading skill which involves using specific kinds of textual clues such as the title, subheadings, signpost words in order to guess what the text might contain


several letters that can be added to the front of a number of words to change their meaning in the same way, e.g. un- untie, uncommon, uncountable


a modifier that comes before the word it is modifying. Example: Sufficient sampling of the soil is needed.


a word or group of words which can be placed before a noun or pronoun to show place, direction, source, method etc., e.g. on the hard drive; the printer is next to the computer

prepositional phrase

a phrase beginning with a preposition. e.g. 'In the late 1990s the human genome was mapped.' Prepositional phrases can act as adjectives or adverbs


a word which replaces a noun, e.g. 'e-learning is different from conventional learning insofar as it does not involve face-to-face interaction'


the activity of reading a piece of written work in its final stages, e.g. an essay, in order to identify and mark errors for correction


the first design of something from which other forms are copied or developed


a short sentence or phrase that expresses a general truth about life (e.g. a stitch in time saves nine = 'to do something now will save much more effort in the future')

pure idiom

a phrase whose meaning is unrelated to the meaning of its individual words (e.g. kick the bucket = 'die')


the aim of or reason for doing something. Example: a writer's purpose may be to describe a particular procedure so that the reader can carry out the procedure for himself.


data that can be assessed in terms of its relative quality or positive attributes. Qualitative data provides a subjective measurement or evaluation of something. See also quantitative (below)


data that can be measured or assessed using numbers. An analysis based on numerical data or statistics is generally said to be quantitative. See also qualitative (above)


to repeat (quote) words that someone else has written. The words are normally presented inside single or double inverted commas (quotation marks) to show that they represent a quotation and are followed by reference details. e.g. 'To be or not be: that is the question' (Hamlet 3:1)


to be widely thought of by most people as very good or important in a field


something which is not essential. Example: 'er' and 'um' are redundant fillers in speech; they are not essential to the understanding of what is being communicated


think deeply about something you have done or experienced. Reflecting on what you have learned is a key part of the learning process


change and improve an idea, text or notes after reconsidering it/them. Constantly reformulating your notes in the light of new information helps you to understand them better and keeps your notes in a form that is immediately useful for you


a variety of language related to the occupation of the writer (e.g. legal language used by lawyers; formal language used when talking to a policeman)

relative clause

a clause beginning with a relative pronoun. There are two types: defining and non-defining. Examples: patients who took the new drug recovered quickly. (Defining or identifying relative clause) the study, which took three years to complete, produced no conclusions. (Non defining or non-identifying relative clause, n.b. punctuation)

rhetorical question

rhetorical questions are questions used by a writer or a speaker that do not need an answer; their purpose is simply to involve the reader or the listener more fully. E.g. (from a lecture) How can we prevent problems like these from occurring? Well, one way is to...


to read quickly to locate specific information

search string

the terms and symbols you enter in an online search engine. Understanding how to form effective search strings is an important skill for academic researchers


a typical university learning group in which a small group of students and a tutor make presentations and discuss ideas and concepts related to their subject


one or more clauses (minimum: subject + verb) that form a single unit in writing


the order in which a series of related things or events follow each other


a word or phrase used in speech or writing to highlight part of the text for the reader or audience; e.g. to introduce the different stages of a talk or lecture - to sum up, let's now consider; to clarify the writer's argument in writing - with regard to..., in conclusion

simple sentence

a sentence consisting of one clause


to read a text quickly in order to get the gist or general idea


very informal words and expressions, unsuitable in formal writing, sometimes associated with specific groups of people (e.g. teenage slang)

source text

reference to source text in academic writing would be using information in your text which was taken from another text (e.g. by using quotation or paraphrase)

spider diagram

a way of representing graphically a set or sets of relationships between ideas or attributes, especially when brainstorming. Visually this resembles a spider with many 'legs' (connecting lines) and 'feet' (related ideas).


a person or group with an interest (= stake) in a company or venture. Stakeholders may include employees, investors, customers etc.


a belief about an individual or group that is based on an image which may or may not have some truth to it, e.g. British people are not very open


a method or way of achieving a specific goal especially in language learning; example: a listening strategy, reading strategies


this refers to the way in which more force is given to certain words in a sentence or to a particular syllable in a word

students' union

an organisation which represents students studying at a university. Also used to refer to the building where the headquarters, along with facilities for students, are situated

study plan

a plan consisting of a list of your short and long term learning goals including the date by which you aim to achieve them, usually in the form of a grid


the person or thing that 'does' the action described by the verb in a sentence (e.g. 'Cows produce milk.', the subject of this sentence is 'cows')

subordinate (or dependent) clause

a subordinate clause does not express a complete idea and cannot stand alone. It must be joined to a main clause with a semi-colon, adverbial connector or subordinating conjunction. E.g: the company, whose brand had been copied, decided to sue

subordinating conjunction

a subordinating conjunction is used to join a subordinate clause to a main clause. Some subordinating conjunctions are: although, as, before, if, since, than, though, unless, where...


several letters that can be added to the end of a number of words to change their meaning in the same way E.g. -ation: organisation, information, clarification


not detailed - a superficial text would only contain basic or obvious information


this word refers to the individual sounds that form a word when it is pronounced; a syllable may be composed of a vowel sound, or consonant and vowel sound together


communication (text-based or voice-based) requiring participants to be present at the same time, e.g. telephone conversation, instant messaging


the signs of a disease or illness, e.g. the symptoms of a fever may include sweating, a high body temperature and sickness


this is a word which is similar in meaning to another word, e.g. authentic and real are synonyms


(informal) a person who is very keen on and knowledgeable about technology, especially computers


a document that has a fixed layout (e.g. headings and columns), but with blank spaces so that you can fill in your own content


someone granted use of a house or apartment, and who pays a fee, known as rent


refers to the different forms of a verb which signify past, present or future time


typically describing a style of academic language in which the writer does not wish to make strong statements which may not be accepted


specialist words and expressions that are used to talk about a particular field or subject area

text structuring devices

words and expressions that are used by writers to convey the structure of their texts to their readers. E.g. 'firstly', 'subsequently', 'in conclusion'


reference book containing an alphabetical listing of words with their synonyms or words and phrases with similar meanings in different contexts. E.g. the entry for 'book' in a thesaurus might include references to album, novel, or text


a long piece of writing usually written for an academic degree and often at PhD level

topic sentence

a sentence in a paragraph that states the topic or subject of the paragraph and the idea(s) it focuses on


this term refers to a verb which can be followed by a direct object, e.g. 'to boost something': cheap currencies boost exports


In graphs and other visual representations of data it is often possible to identify 'trends' - these are patterns and changes in the data, e.g. showing increases or decreases over a period of time


meeting between a tutor and an individual student or small group of students to discuss specific subject work and/or broader study-related issues


features of how text will appear when it is printed e.g. bold, italics, capital letters

uncountable noun

a noun which does not have a countable form e.g. information, research

utility bills

local charges for services such as: running water, gas, electricity, telephone. These are normally paid every four months. In the case of rented accommodation, some charges are paid by the landlord and embedded into the rent


something said by someone


very unclear; very imprecise. Example: As an immature teenager, he had vague ideas about becoming a famous singer


a form of language that is different from other forms in terms of its system or content. Examples: a dialect is a geographical variety the technical vocabulary or jargon of certain professions or subject areas are varieties


a word which tells you what people or things do and what happens to them, e.g. 'the buttons on a mouse are used to select items at which the mouse points'

verb phrase

a phrase that consists of a main verb and one or more helping verbs. e.g. 'had gone', 'may have eaten', 'was playing'

vice versa

used to show that a statement is also true in the opposite order, example: Mary loves Bill and vice versa (Bill loves Mary too)

virtual learning environment

a learning area on the internet where learners access and study a course online


one of 5 letters in the English alphabet, namely, 'a,e,i,o,u'

weak form

the non-stressed form of a word

web quest

a learning project which involves students researching web sites to obtain information to complete the project

word class (or grammatical class)

this is a term which is used to refer to whether a word is a noun, a verb, an adjective, or a preposition etc


a mainly voice-based Internet tool that has synchronous and asynchronous channels for online communication purposes

Yellow Pages

the pages of a telephone directory, often printed on yellow pages, which give details of business and company addresses and their telephone numbers


the telephone number used in the UK to contact the main emergency services: police, ambulance and fire services

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