Grammar Terms Beginning with Letter F


The term finite is a label applied to a verb-form which is marked for tense. In the present tense, only the third person singular has the marking for tense: the ending –s.

So, for example, in Peter works, the verb form works is finite. The form work is also finite in I work, you work and they work even though there is no marking for tenses in these cases. In contrast, the form work is not finite in case like ‘He may work’ or ‘She wants to work’. Here the verb work is infinitive. English non-finite verbs are infinitives, participles and gerunds.

Free morpheme

Any morpheme which can stand alone to make a word all by itself is called a free morpheme. Note that free morphemes may sometimes combine with other morphemes in a larger word. For example the English morpheme sad is free because it can stand alone to make the word sad, even though it can also combine with other morphemes to make larger words like sadness.

The term fronting refers to any construction in which a word or phrase which would commonly occur somewhere else is placed at the beginning of the sentence. For example, ‘There was a spider on the wall’ has a fronted version ‘On the wall there was a spider’ in which the prepositional phrase ‘on the wall’ has been fronted.
Likewise ‘I can’t watch this film’ has a fronted version ‘This film I can’t watch’ in which the direct object ‘this film’ is fronted.