Grammar Terms Beginning with Letter E
The omission of a word or phrase which is logically required to complete the structure of a sentence.
Seen him? (‘Have you seen him?’)
Seems we have a problem. (‘It seems we have a problem.’)
Embedded question (Indirect question)
A question which forms part of a larger sentence which itself may or may not be a question. In the following examples, the sequences given in bold text are embedded questions.
I don’t know what he wants. (Here the whole sentence is a statement in which the direct question ‘what does he want?’ is embedded.)
Tell me what I should do. (Here the whole sentence is a command embedding the direct question ‘what should I do?’)
Note that an embedded (indirect) question has a different word order from a direct question. In embedded questions the subject comes before the auxiliary verb whereas in a direct question, the auxiliary verb comes before the subject.
Why is he angry with me? (Direct question)
I don’t know why he is angry with me. (Indirect question)
An embedded Yes/No question is introduced by whether or if.
I don’t know if we can afford it. (Here the embedded question is ‘Can we afford it?’)
A verb which can be either intransitive or transitive. Examples are: ring, sink, boil etc.
The ship sank. (Here the verb sank is intransitive because it has no object.)
The explosion sank the ship. (Here the verb sank is transitive because it has an object – the ship.)
Ring the bell. (Here the verb ring is transitive because it has an object.)
The bell rang suddenly. (Here the verb rang is intransitive because it has no object.)
English has many ergative verbs.
A polite word or expression which is used in place of a blunter one so as to avoid giving offence.
Examples include ‘pass away’ for ‘die’.