English Grammatical Terms

Letter Z

(PG = Prescriptive Grammar  —  DG = Descriptive Grammar)

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

  • Zero Artical  —  [DG & OB]  The Term “Zero Article” is used to describe Noun-Phrases where-in no Article (a, an, the) is used or needed.  This almost always happens with Common Nouns (Plural, or Abstract) — and sometimes with Institutions (“went to school”, “at work”, “in church”) — and with the word “Bed” (“went to bed”),  the words for meals (“eating breakfast”, having “dinner”) — and finally with calendar years (“in 1974” – instead of “in the year of 1974″).

Because this term is implies something that exists (even though it uses the word “Zero”) — to refer to something that does not — this term is considered Obtuse, and is not used in The Grammar Of The Common Tongue.

So, instead of saying that “the noun takes The Zero Article — which logically makes no sense — we simply say that the Noun or Noun-Phrase in-question “does not need an Article…  Because that is the truth.  😉

  • Zero Conditional  —  [DG]  The Term “Zero Condition” is used to refer to the type of “Conditional Phrase” that is used for Factually True Statements — rather than hypothetical situations, future possibilities, or a different present based on a change in the past.

The form of the “Zero Conditional” is usually:  “If This, Then That” — For Example:

“If You Boil Water, It Evaporates Into Steam”

“If Subscribe To My Email Newsletter, I Will Send You Information About Learning, Improving, And Refining Your English Skills”

In Traditional Grammar [TG] — there are “Rules” for how to formulate all Conditional Sentences.  However — these Rules are the ones that are probably the MOST often broken Rules in The English Language(This was actually the beginning of me noticing that there were actually TWO Aspects Of Grammar!)

In The Grammar Of The Common Tongue [CTG] — there are still Rules for how to formulate the different Conditional Sentences.  But the meaning of the word “Rules” is quite different in The Common Tongue — in-which it is recognized that — with “Descriptive Grammar” — the Rules, very-often, only serve as “guidelines”…  not as “Regulations”.

  • Zeugma  —  [DG]  The Term “Zeugma” is not a common Grammatical Term, because it is only used to describe a common mistake that people make when forming sentences (usually spoken sentences but also in the written form).  The Word “Zeugma” is an Abstract Noun used to refer to the situation where-in someone uses the same Word (usually a Verb, but possibly an Adjective, or Adverb) to refer to two different Nouns.

However — the mistake is not because the speaker chose the wrong Word.  The mistake is in the Sentence-Structure.

Verb:  “I love to eat salad and juice for lunch.”  — Instead of:  “I love to eat salad and drink juice…”

Adjective:  “I just love old movies and popcorn”  —  Instead of:  “I just love to watch old movies with a big bowl of popcorn…”

Adverb:  “He slowly reached up and picked his nose”  —  Instead of:  “He slowly reached up and then picked his nose.”

Far more common than Zeugma (although actually another form OF Zeugma) is “Diazeugma” — incorrectly using one Subject with more than one Verb.

“Zeugma” is almost un-heard of in Traditional Grammar [TG],  And it is completely NOT necessary in The Grammar Of The Common Tongue [CTG].  Such Terms do not help you to learn the Language, or to better communicate.  The Term is only here for reference.

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