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Writing Vocabulary

Not to be confused with basic vocabulary, the definitions here will help to understand future writing lessons. While you can use these words when you write, the real purpose is to set a basis of words we will be using to explain various topics of writing.

Here are the words that would be good to know prior to delving into writing lessons.

Word Definition
Apostrophe The apostrophe symbol: '
The apostrophe is used in three different situations:
1. To denote missing letters in a word. These are used in contractions, such as: don't, can't, haven't, etc.
2. Use to show "ownership," also known as "the possesive case," such as in the sentence: "Liz' hair had grown too long and she needed a haircut."
3. Used to show plural nouns.
Comma The comma symbol: ,
The comma is used as separation marks within a sentence. They can separate different ideas as well as items in a list. When reading a sentence and there is a comma, this usually suggests to include a slight pause when reading.
Period The period symbol: .
The period is used in several areas of writing. Among these, the most popular are below.
1. To show the end of a sentence.
2. To show that as word has been abbreviated. (Such as "Mr." for "Mister")
Subject The subject is what you are talking about. "The dog could run very fast with only three legs." In the previous sentence, "the dog" is the subject, since that is what is being talked about in the sentence. The subject usually, but not always, is in the beginning of a sentence.
Predicate The predicate shows what has happened with the subject. "The dog could run very fast with only three legs." Since "the dog" is the subject of the previous sentence, the predicate is discussing the dog, and that it "...could run very fast with only three legs."
Participle This is simply a word that has features of both a verb and an adjective.
Contraction A contraction is the result of combining two words into one. For example, "do not" becomes "don't." Note: Contractions are very common when speaking and informal writing, but should not be used in formal writing!
Sentence A grammatically correct statement to express an idea, thought, action, etc.
Paragraph A grouping of sentences. A good paragraph should have an opening sentence, two or more supporting sentences, and a closing sentence.
Paper Paper will have two meanings:
1. The sheet of woody fibers that you use a pen, pencil, or a printer to print words on.
2. A writing assignment. For example: "Your English paper is due on Thursday."
Brain Storm To "brain storm" for ideas simply means to think of every possible idea that you can, and, no matter how odd or useless they may sound at the time, write them down!
Writer's Block When you just can't think of what to write, you have Writer's Block.
Colon The colon symbol: :
The colon is used to separate an idea from its supporting idea in a sentence. Also, it is used to show that a list of items is coming up in a sentence.
Semi Colon A semi colon symbol: ;
Rather than separate support ideas in a sentence like the colon does, a semi colon is used to present additional information that is not strictly supporting the first part of the sentence.
Adjective A word that describes or modifies a noun.
Adverb A word that describes or modifies a verb.

That's it for the vocabulary. Most of these you probably already knew - others did not make the list because we assume at least a basic understanding of writing. Now get started with writing and select another writing topic!


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