Grammar Terms Part VII

Direct Object

The grammatical term which usually represents the person or thing receiving the action of the verb. In the following examples the nouns given in bold text are examples of direct objects.

He gave me a book.
I told him a story.

Direct question

Any question which expects an answer is a direct question.

Examples are:

Have you finished your work?
When does the train leave?
Is it raining?

Direct speech

The label direct speech refers to the act of quoting one’s exact words. In writing, direct speech is enclosed within quotation marks.

Discourse marker

A word or phrase which is weakly linked to an adjoining sentence. Discourse markers are used to keep a conversation flowing smoothly. Examples are: so, of course, nevertheless, yes and well.


The label disjunct refers to any of two or more items connected by or. For example, the items coffee and tea in the sequence coffee or tea are disjuncts.


Distributives are words like each and every. They refer to the members of a group as individuals.

She kissed them each on the forehead.
Every light was out.

Double genitive

A label which refers to constructions like ‘a friend of mine’ and ‘that child of yours’. Double genitives are used to express the meaning of ungrammatical forms like ‘my a friend’ and ‘your that child’.

Double negative

The label double negative refers to any construction in which two or more negative words occur in the same clause. Examples are: I didn’t see nothing. Double negatives are not acceptable in standard English. Note that a double negative is no equivalent to a positive. For example, ‘I didn’t see nobody’ does not mean ‘I saw somebody’.

Dummy (Expletive)

The label dummy refers to a meaningless word which is grammatically required in a sentence. Examples are it and there.
Consider the sentences given below:

It is raining.
There is some water in the bottle.

Here the words it and there refer to nothing at all, but is required to make the sentence grammatical.