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Key Stage 2 English glossary

By Atom | Nov 7, 2023, 4:32 PM

Mother and son sitting at a table and looking at a sheet of paper togeth

Confused about clauses and conjunctions? Perplexed about progressive and perfect tenses? You’re in the right place.

Learn about all the terminology your child will encounter in Key Stage 2 English and beyond. Feel confident helping your child with their English homework!


Adjectives and adverbs

An adjective describes a noun or a pronoun (big, brilliant, shy). An adverb describes a verb, adjective, or another adverb or clause. It can tell us about the manner, frequency, time, place, or degree of an action (quickly, often, yesterday, really, here).

An adverbial is a phrase that functions as an adverb (during the summer, within the hotel).

Conjunctions and clauses

A conjunction is a word that links together words, phrases and clauses (and, because). A clause is a phrase which contains a subject and a verb, and is split into main clauses and subordinate clauses.

A coordinating conjunction links together words, phrases and clauses of equal importance (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).


A determiner is a word used in front of nouns or noun phrases to identify the noun (my, this, their).

An article is a type of determiner. There are three articles in the English language: ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’.


A noun is a word used to identify a person, place, or a thing (flower, desk, sky).

An abstract noun is intangible. It can include feelings or concepts (sadness, peace, time).


A preposition is a word which connects nouns, pronouns and noun phrases to another word (in, with, beside, among).

A participle preposition is a word that ends with ‘-en’, ‘-ing’ or ‘-ed’ that acts as a preposition (give, considering, provided).


A pronoun is a word that is used in place of a noun to avoid repetition (she, myself).

A demonstrative pronoun replaces a noun phrase when we ‘point’ at things or people (these, this, that).


A sentence is a group of words that can stand on their own and make sense without any other words or phrases. Sentences start with a capital letter and end with a full stop, exclamation mark or question mark.

A complex sentence is made up of one main clause and one or more subordinate clauses (when I grow up, I want to be a teacher).


A verb expresses a state or action (run, eat, feel).

An infinite verb is the most basic form of the verb. It always takes the form ‘to’ + verb (to paint, to sing)

Verb agreement

In a sentence, the subject and the verb need to agree with each other. This means they both need to be singular or they both need to be plural, and the verb form must match the person.

First person is when the sentence is written from the point of view of the person or people involved (I, we).

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Literary devices

Literary devices are techniques that writers use to make their writing more exciting and expressive.

Alliteration is when words that are close together begin with the same sound or letter (A cute and cuddly cat, wet and windy weather).

Persuasive devices

Persuasive devices are techniques that writers use to persuade their audience to agree with them. They can also be known as rhetorical devices.

An anecdote is a story from someone’s life (I remember when we used to go down to the river after school).


Punctuation refers to the marks made to separate sentences and to clarify their meaning.

An apostrophe is used to show a contraction (missing letters or numbers) or possession (can’t, would’ve, Fiona’s party).


Vocabulary refers to a collection of words. It includes different types of words.

An abbreviation is a word that has been shortened, but keeps its meaning (vet is an abbreviation of veterinarian).

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