English Grammatical Terms

Letter C

(PG = Prescriptive Grammar  —  DG = Descriptive Grammar)

(GL = Grammatical Lingo  —  OB = Obtuse  —  NG = Not Grammatical)

When a Word is the first Word of a Sentence, we Capitalize the first Letter of the Word.

Besides the Terms “Upper-““Lower-Case” — the Term “Case” is almost useless to the learner of English.  This is because ALL of the other uses of the Word “Case” — in relation to other Grammatical Terms in Traditional Grammar — are Terms which will not help you Comprehend or Communicate in English.  They are only useful if you need to take an exam ABOUT advanced level Grammar, and those particular Terms are on the exam.

For virtually ALL other Terms where it may be common to use the Word “Case” — in The Grammar Of The Common Tongue — we use the FAR more logical & correct Word “Form”.

  • Choice Question  —  [DG]  The Term “Choice Question” is used to refer to one of the 4 different Question-Types.  A “Choice Question” is one in-which some choice between more than one option is given.


For Example:  “Do you like this or that?”  “Which one would you choose?”, “Out of _____ Which would you prefer?”

  • Cliche — [NG]  This is not a Grammatical Term.  It is simply a Term which is often used to refer to Expressions which have been largely over-used or is used outside of it’s original context.

For Example:  “We really need to ‘Think Outside The Box’.”

The Expression, (to) “Think Outside The Box” became a very popular Expression and even ideology when it first became popular in the 1980s.  But this Expression was use SO much in the world of business, and elsewhere, that it began to be thought-of as being very Cliche.

So now — although most people know this Expression — and the idea is still very useful — the use of this Expression is not used very-often anymore.

Also note that — whether something is considered to be Cliche or not, is a matter of opinion…  Even if it is the majority opinion.


For Example:  The Word “Croissant” is a French Word — and it is a Cognate of the Word “Cresent”.  It is literally the same Word in two Languages.  However, the Word “Croissant” — in English — only refers to the delicious pastry that we call “a Croissant”.  It is not the Adjective describing the shape.

Basically — A Colloquialism is any Expression — of any type —  which is Colloquial in-nature.

  • Common Noun —  [DG]  A Common Noun is a type of Noun which names a certain “class” of “things”.  Those which have many individual things with-in that same group.


Examples:  “Chair”  —  “Car”  —  “Boat”  —  “Person”

As Opposed To:  “Rocking Chair”  —  Audi”  —  Sail Boat”  —  Bob”

Within GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! & The Common Tongue — when the Term “Common Usage” is used to refer to anything Grammatical — it is almost always in contra-distinction to the Proper & Correct way that some Word or Phrase is Known & Comprehended — and thus — Properly & Correctly Used.

When it is in-reference-to Pronunciation — it is not referring to anything that is necessarily “wrong” — but just the way that something is Pronounced — as opposed to the way something is spelled.

  • Comparative Adjective —  [PG]  The Term “Comparative Adjective” is used to refer to an Adjective which — as the name implies — is used to “Compare” the qualities or conditions of some “thing” to that of another similar thing.  This form of Adjective ends with the “-er” Suffix or is modified with the Word “more”.


For Example:  “This is ‘bigger’ than that.”  —  “That is ‘more awesome’ than this.”

For Example:  “I have been teaching people to ‘Achieve Excellence On The TOEFL Exam’ for over 10 year, and it still amazes me just how many people STILL think that they can prepare for the Exam on their own, or not at all.”

In the Sentence above, the first Clause is an Independent Clause, which is separated by a Comma and combined with the second Independent Clause by the Conjunction “and”.  But the final Clause, “…not at all”, is a Subordinate Clause.

  • Complex-Compound Sentence  —  [PGComplex-Compound Sentence (sometimes mistakenly referred to as a “Compound-Complex Sentence”) is a Sentence with two “main” Clauses and at-least one Subordinate Clause.  It is composed-of a Compound Sentence and a Complex Sentence.  There-fore the Complex Sentence, added to the Compound Sentence, makes it Complex (rather than the other-way-around.)
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The reason they are called Complex Grammatical Elements is because the are made up of multiple Grammatical Elements (Letters) — but is not a full Word — so it does not fit into any of the categories of Grammatical Units.  And — although they do have a “Function” — they are not Grammatical Devices, for the same reason that they are not Grammatical Units.

The reason they are called Complex Grammatical Units is because the are made-up of multiple Words — each which, on their own, would be classified as different Grammatical Units.  But when combined — create a “Phrasal” Term which Functions As only one of the Base Grammatical Units.


For Example:  “I really like Helping People With The TOEFL Exam, as long as they actually listen to me and follow my instructions.”


The Sentence above is a “Complex Sentence” because the first Clause — the Main Clause — is an “Independent Clause” and the second Clause is a “Subordinate Clause”.

This Term will not help you to Comprehend or Communicate in English.  It is only useful if you have an exam where-in there is a question about this Term.


For Example:  The TOEFL Exam is a lot different than any other so-called ‘English Proficiency’ exam, so it is a really dumb idea to take The TOEFL Exam without first Preparing For It.”


There are two Independent Clauses in the Sentence above, which are separated with a Comma, and joined by the Conjunction “so”.

  • Compound Subject  —  [DG]  The Term “Compound Subject” is used to describe the situation where-in a Sentence contains more than one Subject that is acting upon the same Predicate.
  • Compound Verb-Phrase  —  [DG]  The Term “Compound Verb-Phrase” is used to refer to a Phrase which contains more than one Verb, referring to different Actions or States Of Being.


For Example:  “I like to cook tasty food, drink delicious wines, smoke some sticky dank buds, and relax with some good tunes.”

  • Compound-Word  —  [DG]  The Term Compound-Word is one which is composed-of two distinct Words combined to refer-to one single thing.  Usually formed from two separate Nouns — the first acting as an Adjective to describe the specifics of the second Noun.

A Word usually becomes a Compound-Word simply from being used commonly and often — and so is eventually thought-of as a single Word or at-least a Hyphenated Term.


Examples:  “Keyboard”, “Motorcycle”, “Duct-Tape”, “Dip-Stick”, etc.

  • Concrete Noun  —  [DG]  The Term “Concrete Noun” is used to refer-to a Noun which represents something Tangible.  It is a physical thing, rather than an Non-Tangible thing like an idea or a concept — which is represented by the Term “Abstract Noun”.
  • Conditional Sentence  —  [DG]  The Term “Conditional Sentence” refers loosely to all four of the different types of Conditional SentencesZero, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and “Mixed”.  These Phrases are used in different situations to communicate about what would happen if there was some certain condition.  “If This,… Then That”.


Examples:  With the Verb “Be” — It’s Conjugations are:  To Be — I Am — He/She/It Is — You/They/We Are


For Example:  “and”“but”“for”“nor”“or”“so”“yet”, etc.

Or some short Phrase which Functions As a Conjunction —  Such as:  “and so”, “not withstanding”, “as a result”, etc..

When it is in the Phrase-Form it is called a Conjunction-Phrase (“as a result”, “so you can see”) — or a Phrasal-Conjunction (“and-so”, “not-withstanding”).

  • Conjunction-Phrase  —  [PG]  The Term “Conjunction-Phrase” is used to refer to a Phrase which Functions As a Conjunction.

However — this Term is Obtuse and mis-leading because the Term “Conjunctive” modifies the Term “Adverb”, to say what kind of Adverb it is.  But it’s function in the Sentence is NOT as an Adverb, but as a Conjunction!  So the focus of the Term is “backwards” & wrong.

Also — in the way that the Term is constructed — this would mean that the particular Adverb is ALWAYS “Conjunctive”;  It is THAT Type of Adverb.  However this is not true.  According to the traditional definition(s) of this Term — it is exactly the opposite.

It is that the Conjunction in the Sentence is a Word which ALSO happens to be an Adverb.  So the Term would be more logical if it was “Adverbial-Conjunction”.  This is because, the ONLY time that a Word like this is used (“Accordingly”, “Subsequently”, “Consequently”) — it is “conjoining” whatever is before it, with a Clause that acts as a Verb-Phrase.

In ALL such cases — the Sentence could be re-written or spoken so that the Adverb is NOT being used as a Conjunction.  You will not need this Term unless you are taking an exam on English Grammar.  It is completely un-necessary to the Communication & Comprehension of English.

  • Continuous Tenses  —  [DG]  The Term “Continuous Tenses” is used to broadly refer to all of the “Continuous Tenses”.  These are the Verb Tenses that refer to action that is / was / or will be “Happening” — and are Conjugated with The “-ing” Suffix.

In European English — the Term “Progressive” is more-commonly used to mean the same thing.  In American English the Term “Continuous” is more common than “Progressive”.  In The Grammar Of The Common Tongue — the Term “Continuous” is used because it is more logical than “Progressive”.  This is because the Word “Progressive” is ambiguous.  And there can be “Continuing” action which is not “Progressive” — according to the most-common Meaning of the Word “Progressive”.


The Continuous Tenses Are:  Past-Continuous, Past-Perfect Continuous, Present-Continuous, Present-Perfect Continuous, Future-Continuous, Future-Perfect Continuous

  • Contraction  —  [DG]  The Term “Contraction” is used to refer to the shortening of two Words which are then joined with an Apostrophe, or through the use of Colloquial (and wrong) spelling.


For Example:  “Do Not”  ⇒  “don’t”  —  “I will”  ⇒  “I’ll”


Contractions are a result of Spoken English, and — at least in The Common Tongue — should not be used in the written form. 

  • Coordinating Adjectives  —  [DG & OB]  The Term “Coordinating Adjectives” is used to describe two Adjectives which are combined in a “Phrasal” to describe the same thing, and are necessary as a pair (“Well-Known”, “Most-Affordable”, etc.).  This is because — if one of the Adjectives were eliminated, the meaning would change, or would not make sense.

Coordinating Adjectives should always be joined-with a Hyphen so that the two Adjectives are not mistaken as being separate — but working together as one single “Phrasal”.  (It is true that though many people do not do this…  This simply shows poor style and Grammatical comprehension.)

In The Grammar Of The Common Tongue & Enlightened English Grammar — this Term is Obtuse and not needed, because this type of “Adjective” is correctly known as a Phrasal-Adjective.  No other description is needed.

  • Coordinating Conjunction  —  [DG]  This is the most common type of Conjunction.  It is used to join Similar things together in a Sentence.  The most-common example, is:  “And”
  • Correlative Conjunction  —  [DG]  The Term “Correlative Conjunction” is used to refer to the type of Conjunction which joins things together, but acts in pairs for for the sake of comparison of things or ideas.


For Example:  “either / or”;  “neither / nor”;  “both / and”;  “whether / or (not)”;  “not / but”;  “not only / but also”


The use of one of these pairs — without their complements — may be common, but it is only because the complement is implied.  For example — you may often see the use of “whether”, without the use of “or (not)”.

  • Countable Noun  —  [DGThe Term “Countable Noun” is used to describe a Noun which can be counted — because when it increases or decreases, it does-so in Number.  This is as-opposed-to a Un-Countable Noun which can not be counted — because when it increases or decreases, it does-so in mass, size, or scale.
  • Cumulative Adjective  —  [DG & OB]  The Term “Cumulative Adjective” is used to refer to a specific type of Coordinating Adjective which must be made with the Adjectives in a specific order.  And if the order would change, it would either make no sense, or the meaning would be changed.


For Example:  With the Term “Compound-Complex Sentence” — as opposed to “Complex-Compound Sentence” — although they contain the same Words, the order of the Words changes the Meaning.  This is because the first Word always modifies the second Word.

However — even the actual Name of this Term is wrong.  This is because “Adjective” is singular, meaning only one.  But if there is only one Adjective, then there is nothing to be “Cumulative”.

But more importantly — this is a Term that will almost never be used by the learner of English.  You will not need to know this Term unless you are taking a test about it.  It will not help you to Comprehend or Communicate in English.  There-fore — this Term is Grammatical Dross.

  • Curse Word  —  [NG]  The Term “Curse Word”  is another Term for what is more-commonly referred-to as a “Swear Word”.

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