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In today’s English class, we will be learning about Some Functional Words.
Some Functional Words
What are functional words in the English language?
Functional words are words that have a grammatical purpose. Function words include pronouns, determiners, and conjunctions. These include words such as he, the, those, and the words and or but.
In American English, there is a reduction of function words in everyday speech. In other words, they often say function words more quietly and quickly.
Let’s consider an example of a functional word sentence.
- He picked up the book.
The function words are he, a pronoun, and the, an article.
These function words do not really give specific information. If you heard a person only say the words “he… the…,” you would have a hard time understanding what they meant.
Now let’s consider the other words in the statement – the content words.
Content words are words such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
The content words in our example are the phrasal verb picked up and the noun book.
- He picked up the book.
If the statement only had content words, it would not be a complete sentence, but it would still communicate a general idea.
If our example only had content words, it would be this:
….picked up … book.
The importance of content words explains why there is often a reduction of function words in everyday speech.
Function words have a grammatical use but are less central to expressing specific meaning.
- My gosh! The store is so good!
The first sentence has the word gosh, a kind of expression that shows excitement or surprise. This term is said a bit louder.
In the second sentence, note that the content words are spoken a bit louder as well, while the function words are said quietly and quickly.
Store, a noun, and good, an adjective, are spoken most clearly. The word so is also spoken clearly because it helps to show the speaker’s strong feelings.
If we took out some of the function words, the reduced statement would be:
Gosh! …store…so good
This is not a complete sentence, but it does communicate the speaker’s very general idea.
In summary, functional words are words that have a grammatical purpose. Function words include pronouns, determiners, and conjunctions. These include words such as he, the, those, and the words and or but.
Explain what you understand by functional words.
How are content words different from functional words?
Function words include ………….., determiners, and ………… They include words such as what?
We hope you enjoyed today’s class. In our next class, we will be learning about Expressing Wishes.
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