Students understanding the complexity of language

Chapter 01-02: Form-Class Words Introduction


Chapter 1: form-class words

Form-class words are open-ended, not limited in the number of their members, as new words are being invented all the time. New  inventions, observations, sciences, sports, ideas, etc. require us to  constantly create new form-class words. In this respect, as a category, form-class words usually have lexical meaning, or a dictionary definition.
Most all form-class words can take inflection in order to create a variant form of the word and signal grammatical  information without changing its meaning. For example, the word smell can become smelly, smelliest, or smelled.  Likewise, many form-class words can take derivations that will allow them to change forms, such as ideal to idealize or to idealistic or to  ideally. Finally, as we will discuss, many form-class words can be  identified as more than one form: smell can be identified as a noun (and take the noun inflections), or it can be identified as a verb (and take the verb inflections). As always, when identifying the form-class of a word, be sure to always analyze in context.
There are four sets of FORM-CLASS words described in this section:

We will do our best to use the color code displayed here throughout the textbook to represent both the form or function of a word, phrase, or clause. Red = Noun/Nominal; Green = Verb; Blue = Adjective/Adjectival; Orange = Adverb/Adverbial