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Describing language
Describing language

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2.2 What you know so far

In the past two weeks in particular you’ve come across a lot of important terminology that you’ll need to describe language accurately. Learning this terminology and being able to apply your knowledge to the analysis of real texts will mean that you can explain why texts work in the way that they do. And, as you’ll continue to explore in the next half of this course, you’ll be able to use your new skills to show how language can be used creatively. As verbs can be quite complicated if you’ve never looked at language in this way before, here’s a summary of all the important terms you need to know from the past two weeks.

Activity 6 Defining terms

Timing: This activity should take around 10 minutes
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  1. A main verb expresses the action or process in a sentence (walk, sing, think, etc.).
  2. An auxiliary verb is a form of be, have or do.
  3. A modal verb is a helping verb like could, should, will, must, etc.
  4. To make a verb past tense we usually add an -ed morpheme.
  5. To make a verb the present participle we usually add an -ing morpheme.
  6. Some verbs are irregular, which means they take special forms for past tense (bought, saw, ran, etc.).

Having got all that under your belt, it should be admitted that English verb grammar is remarkably simple compared to many other languages. If you have studied or grown up with other languages, you may already know this, but it’s worth looking at the differences in a bit of detail, which is what you’ll do next.