Grammatical particle

Grammatical particle

In linguistics, the term particle is a word lacking a strict definition but has the function of changing the relation of the parts of the sentence to one another, and is therefore called a function word. It does not change its form by adding affixes and does not reflect gender, tense or person (has therefore no inflections) and is thus an uninflected word. [McArthur, Tom: “The Oxford Companion to the English Language”, pp72-76, Oxford University Press, 1992 ISBN 0-19-2114183-X. For various keywords]

Further definitions

Depending on its context, the meaning of the term may overlap with such notions or meanings as "morpheme", "marker", or even "adverb" (another catch-all term). Like many linguistic concepts, the precise content of the notion is very language-specific.

Under the strictest definition, which demands that a particle be an uninflected word, English deictics like "this" and "that" would not be classed as such (since they have plurals), and neither would Romance articles (since they are inflected for number and gender).

Other languages

The term "particle" is often used in descriptions of Japanese [ List of Japanese particles] and Korean [ List of Korean particles] , where they are used to mark nouns according to their case or their role (subject, object, complement, or topic) in a sentence or clause. Some of these particles are best analysed as case markers and some as postpositions. There are sentence-tagging particles such as Japanese and Chinese question markers. There are lists of Thai particles. [ Large list of Thai particles]

Different types of particles in English

Articles, infinitival, prepositional, and adverbial particles

*The definite article "" (the indefinite article "a" or "an" cannot really be classed as uninflected, due to their inherently singular meaning disbarring them from plural usage)
* the infinitive "", as in "to walk"
* prepositions, such as "over" as in "I went over the hill"
* adverbs, such as "" as in "even the youngest of them"; or phrasal verbs, such as "put off" as in "we put it off too long"

Interjections, sentence connectors, and conjunctions

Sentence connectors, tags or tag questions, and conjunctions connect to what has been said in a previous clause or sentence. These three types of grammatical particles (similarly to modal particles in some other languages) also reflect the speaker's mood and attitude toward what has come before in the conversation, or is likely to follow later. A particle may be defined simply as an invariable word, in that interjections are to be classed as particles [ Interjections] [ Interjections] . Because of their similar functions, interjections, sentence connectors, and conjunctions should be grouped together:


* Zzz (as in a cartoon for someone sleeping, one of the few non-vocal interjections)

The list of interjections is probably never-ending as it belongs to the open class word category and is subject to new creations at all times.

entence connectors

* (as in "So what")
* (as in "Well, we can’t help that")
* (as in "Still, it could have been a lot worse")
* (as in "I am older now, yet I still enjoy some of the things I used to do")
* otherwise
* moreover
* in addition
* furthermore
* besides
* first
* second
* finally
* last but not least
* lastly
* thus
* hence
* on the other hand
* (as in "that, too, has been said in the past"}

Tags or tag questions (sentence-finals)

* "...didn't they?"; "...wasn't it?"; "...shouldn't it?", etc.


* (together with)
* (as in "while it is true that all line repairs are undertaken on Sundays, not all trains should be assumed to be late")
* /though
* (as in "she could not see the film, for she was too young")
* unless
* (as in "since you asked, I will tell you")

ee also

* Chinese particles
* Function word
* Japanese particles
* Uninflected word

External links

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