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English Prepositions, Verbs


150 Most Common English Phrasal Verbs 

Abbreviations in English


Collocations in English

Linking Words, Definitions and Examples

Nouns, Pronouns – Detailed Expressions

Phrasal Verbs and Definitions

Those Problematic English Prepositions!

Mastering Grammar – Prepositions

Phrasal Verbs and Prepositional Phrases

Phrasal Verbs

English Verbs + Prepositions Dictionary

The Prepositions

What are Prepositions?

Prepositions Exercises

Mastering Articles and Prepositions

English Prepositions: A Historical Survey

Regular Verbs List

Verb Forms

Stative Verbs List

Irregular Verbs

Irregular Verbs – Past Simple – Past Participle – Meaning

The Auxiliary Verb

English Aspectual Verbs

Prepositions – Detailed Expressions

Advers Exercises

Adverbs – Quiz with Answers

Adverbs of Manner

Adverb or Adjective

Parts of Speech – Adverbs

Conjunctive Adverbs

Verbs and Adverbs

Adverbs of Frequency

Possessive Adjectives

Describing People – Adjectives

Grammar – Adjectives

Order of Adjectives

Detailed Expressions – Adjectives and others

Adjectives Quiz and Answers with Expressions

-ED and -ING Adjectives

Participle Adjectives Long List

Modifiers – Adjectives and Adverbs

Comparative Adjectives

Adjectives and Adverbs


Extreme Adjectives


What Is an Expletive?


What’s an expletive, and is it bad? There are several types of expletives, and though some may be considered offensive, others merely signal passive sentence construction or a perhaps desirable vagueness.


Readers of a certain age may recall, during the Watergate scandal, references to “expletive deleted” in discussions of audiotape recordings of conversations between Richard Nixon and certain government officials: Profanity (lots of it) was censored when the recordings were prepared for court proceedings. At that time, “expletive deleted” entered the lexicon as an ironic reference to profanity.



This phrase derives from the linguistic definition of expletive, which comes from the Latin term explere, meaning “to fill”; it refers to a meaningless word. “Expletive deleted” denotes the omission of a potentially offensive word, but that’s not the only usage of expletive.


A syntactic expletive is one that has no meaning but has a function in the syntax of a sentence. For example, in “There are several people waiting,” there is a syntactic expletive; it could be omitted, and the sentence could be revised to the more active construction “Several people are waiting.”


Likewise, in “It is understood that you are to be selected,” for example, it is an expletive standing in for the fact that an understanding exists. However, in this case, a more active revision — such as “Everyone understands that you are to be selected” — tramples on the subtle nuance of the original version, which (perhaps wisely) avoids naming who is doing the understanding.



The it in “It is getting cloudy” is sometimes referred to as the expletive it or the weather it. (The latter label derives from the fact that in such constructions, it often refers to the weather or a feature of the weather.)


An expletive attributive is a (perhaps mildly) profane or obscene word used as an intensifier that doesn’t actually modify another part of speech, although it does indicate strong emotion, as in “I can’t find the damn hammer!” A type of expletive attributive is the expletive infixation, in which an expletive is inserted between two syllables of a word for dramatic effect, as in “That was an in-frickin’-credible concert!”


The Parts of a Word 


A reader asks about the terms prefixroot, and suffix, and wonders how to distinguish them in a word.


At the most basic level, words are made up of units of meaning called morphemes. A morpheme may be a recognizable word like treerun, or button that cannot be broken down into smaller meaningful parts.


A morpheme can represent meaning without being a word. For example, the prefix un- expresses the idea of negation. The suffix -ness, used to turn adjectives into abstract nouns, is a morpheme. The root struct, seen in structure and construct, is a morpheme that embodies the meaning of “to build,” but it cannot stand alone as an English word.



root is a word’s basic part and carries its fundamental meaning. In the word sadness, for example, the root is sad. Sometimes two roots combine to make one word, as in telephone, a combination of the morpheme tele, which relates to distance, and the morpheme phone, which relates to sound.


Prefixes and suffixes belong to a set of morphemes called affixes. An affix is an element added to the base form or stem of a word to modify its meaning.


Standard English makes use of two types of affix: prefixes and suffixes. A prefix is added at the beginning of a word. For example, the prefix re- is added to a root or a word to denote the idea of doing it again: returnrenewreconstruct.


A suffix is added at the end of a word.


Suffixes are of two kinds, derivational and inflectional. A derivational suffix changes the underlying meaning of the word; an inflectional suffix changes the tense of a verb or the number of a noun, or performs some other grammatical purpose.


Some common derivational suffixes are, -er, -al, -ful, and -ize. The suffix -er added to a verb creates a person or object that performs the action of the verb: teach/teacherwalk/walkerkill/killercompute/computer; -al and -ful change nouns into adjectives: accident/accidentalforget/forgetful; -ize changes a noun into a verb: terror/terrorize.


Common inflectional suffixes are endings such as, –ed, -ly, -‘s, -s, -er, -ed, -es, -est, and -ing.


Derivational endings are added to a root. For example, the word reconstruction is made up of the root struct, two prefixes, re- and con-, and a suffix, tion. (Because struct ends in t and tion begins with t, one of the ts had to go.)


Inflectional endings are added to a stem, which is the entire word that the ending is being added to. In the words reconstructed and reconstructing, for example, the stem is reconstruct-.