Analysing Word Class, Phrase and Clause Elements


NB: All the materials used in these activities come from our Delta Module One Course. The course is no longer running and the activities are therefore being made available for general use. However, there are things in the materials which are irrelevant but which I can no longer change. Ignore the reference to the links in unit 2.1, for example. This is a hangover from when the test was used on the course – the links referred to are those below. Similarly, you will not be able to contact a tutor for feedback - though you can always post a question on the Notebook's Facebook page.

These materials are intended to be used over several days to give you time to assimilate the new information that you have studied. They get more difficult as they go on - so do them in order to check you understand the basics before facing more complicated questions. Don't try and do them in one sitting - you'll just confuse yourself. Doing them slowly gives you the chance to check that you have fully understood and retained the information you looked at previously.

Test Your Understanding

How good is your knowledge of grammar? Do you know your prepositions from your adverbs? Can you distinguish between main and auxiliary verbs?  Try this quiz So you think you know about word classes?  It has 10 questions, but they’re all fairly short and in eg multiple choice format, so it won't take you long. Then...

  •  The aim of the quiz is diagnostic. If you get anything wrong, don't think you can give a full definition of the term being used or don't understand the correct answer, go and look it up in the links listed below, or a good grammar. One of the best grammars the free online grammar recommended in the introduction to the quiz:  The Cambridge Online Grammar. You can search for anything you need – but when using the search box for word classes etc, type in the plural – eg conjunctions rather than conjunction.
  • Once you checked your mistakes this, or if you did scored 100% on the quiz the first time,  go on to this quiz to find out if you've really understood and to try some slightly harder questions. 25 questions this time, but they’re all fairly short and again in multiple choice or short answer format. It will probably take you between 15 and 30 minutes to complete, depending on how good your knowledge of grammar already is and how much you choose to look up as you go. (Please excuse the occasional typo and cut and paste error in these quizzes – unfortunately I can no longer make changes to the activities.)  At the end, when you submit your answers, you’ll see your score, the correct answers and an explanation in the feedback section. But again, if there's anything you don't understand, check the terms using the links below.

Word classes

§  What is a word class?

§  AdjectivesAttributive and predicative;    Gradable and Non-Gradable;        

§  Adverbs :  Adjuncts, Disjuncts, Conjuncts;    Interrogative adverbs             

§  Conjunctions:  Co-ordinating and Subordinating conjunctions;     Correlative conjunctions;    Conjunctions and Connectives

§  NounsCommon/ProperCountable/Uncountable;   Concrete/Abstract;    Adjectival;    Collective

§  Determiners:   Articles;    Quantifiers;    Demonstratives;    Possessives;   Interrogatives

§  Particles:    The Infinitive particle and the Negative particle;    Adverb particles

§  Prepositions:    Simple and complex prepositions

§  PronounsSubject, Object, Possessive pronouns;     Demonstrative Pronouns;    Interrogative pronouns;    Relative pronouns;    Reciprocal pronouns;     Reflexive pronouns

§  Verbs : Transitive/Intransitive;    Transitive/Ditransitive;    Finite/Non-finite;    Main and Auxiliary;     Base form;     Participle forms;     Active and Passive;     Catenative verbs;     Causative verbs;     Copulative verbs;      Ergative verbs;      Inchoative verbs;     Performative verbs;     Periphrastic verbs;      Stative/Dynamic;     Imperative mood.                          

Phrases and Phrase Elements

§  What is a phrase?

Clauses and Clause Elements 

§  What is a clause?

§  Main and Subordinate clauses

§  Finite and Non-finite clauses  

§  Relative clauses

§  Adverbial clauses   

§  Subject     

§  Object   

§  Complement     

§  Adverbial   


Sentence Elements

§  What is a sentence?

§  Simple, Compound, Complex and Compound-Complex Sentences

§  Cleft sentences


Once you've checked everything, wait a few days (to make sure you’ve really understood and retained the information, and aren’t just remembering the correct answers) and try the test again. You should be aiming for a result of at last 90%. If you still get any questions wrong, look up those terms again

Then, when you're sure everything is clear, try this activity:  Test your Grammar. This time there are 17 questions, but the later ones are longer and ask you to describe the form, meaning and use of various words – as you’ll need to if you're doing the Module One exam, and the Language Analysis section of your LSAs in Module Two. By now you should have a much clearer understanding of the area, but again - use the links above to check anything you don’t understand and, if you scored less than 90%, wait a few days and try the test again. In this test, you’ll get the answer and the feedback after you submit your answer to each question. 


Further Suggested Reading 

Harmer, J. How to teach English Ch 5 (Longman, 1998)

Thornbury, S,  About Language  (Cambridge, 1997)