Keystone Exams: English Composition Glossary

The terms and definitions included in this list are intended to assist Pennsylvania educators an students in better understanding the Keystone Assessment Anchors and Eligible Content.

Start learning with an activity...

  • Practice

    Answer a few questions on each word. Get one wrong? We'll ask some follow-up questions. Use it to prep for your next quiz!
  • Spelling Bee

    Test your spelling acumen. See the definition, listen to the word, then try to spell it correctly. Beat your last streak, or best your overall time. Spellers of the world, unite!
  • Vocabulary Jam

    Compete head-to-head in real-time to see which team can answer the most questions correctly. Start a Jam and invite your friends and classmates to join!

Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. active
    voice in which a sentence's subject functions as an agent
  2. adjective
    the word class that qualifies nouns
  3. adverb
    a word that modifies something other than a noun
  4. antecedent
    the word, phrase, or clause to which a pronoun refers
  5. argument
    an assertion offered as evidence that something is true
  6. audience
    the part of the general public interested in something
  7. cause
    events that provide the generative force of something
  8. effect
    a phenomenon that is caused by some previous phenomenon
  9. claim
    an assertion that something is true or factual
  10. clarity
    the quality of being coherent and easily understood
  11. clause
    an expression including a subject and predicate
  12. cohesive
    combining well to form a unified whole
  13. confuse
    mistake one thing for another
  14. compare
    examine and note the similarities or differences of
  15. contrast
    put in opposition to show or emphasize differences
  16. conclusion
    the last section of a communication
  17. conjunction
    a function word that serves to conjoin words or phrases
  18. content
    what a communication that is about something is about
  19. meaning
    the message that is intended or expressed or signified
  20. convention
    something regarded as a normative example
  21. counterargument
    an opinion offered in opposition to another position
  22. dangle
    hang freely
  23. modifier
    a content word that qualifies the meaning of a noun or verb
  24. edit
    prepare for publication or presentation by revising
  25. exposition
    a systematic interpretation or explanation of a topic
  26. expository
    serving to expound or set forth
  27. focus
    maximum clarity or distinctness of an idea
  28. fragment
    an incomplete piece
  29. gerund
    a noun formed from a verb
  30. grammar
    the branch of linguistics that deals with sentence structure
  31. infinitive
    the uninflected form of the verb
  32. informative
    tending to increase knowledge or dissipate ignorance
  33. introduction
    the first section of a communication
  34. irregular
    contrary to rule or accepted order or general practice
  35. irrelevant
    having no bearing on or connection with the subject at issue
  36. misplace
    put in the wrong position
  37. auxiliary
    functioning in a supporting capacity
  38. organization
    a planned structure for arranging or classifying
  39. strategy
    an elaborate and systematic plan of action
  40. structure
    the building of something and the arrangement of its parts
  41. parallel
    duplicate, correspond to, or match
  42. participle
    a form of the verb used as an adjective
  43. passive
    when the subject of a sentence is a recipient of the action
  44. persuasion
    communication intended to induce belief or action
  45. persuasive
    intended or having the power to induce action or belief
  46. phrase
    an expression consisting of one or more words
  47. precise
    sharply exact or accurate or delimited
  48. predicate
    the constituent of a sentence containing the verb
  49. preposition
    a word before a noun or pronoun connecting to another word
  50. process
    a particular course of action intended to achieve a result
  51. analysis
    a detailed investigation or examination of something
  52. problem
    a question raised for consideration or solution
  53. solution
    a method for solving a problem
  54. pronoun
    a function word that is used in place of a noun
  55. purpose
    an anticipated outcome that guides your planned actions
  56. redundancy
    the attribute of being superfluous and unneeded
  57. relevant
    having a bearing on or connection with the subject at issue
  58. revise
    reorganize, especially for the purpose of improving
  59. sentence
    a string of words satisfying grammatical rules of a language
  60. simple
    having few parts; not complex or complicated or involved
  61. compound
    consisting of two or more substances or elements or parts
  62. complex
    complicated in structure
  63. variety
    a difference that is usually pleasant
  64. style
    a mode of expression typical of a person, group, or period
  65. technique
    a practical method or art applied to some particular task
  66. syntax
    the grammatical arrangement of words in sentences
  67. subject
    one of the two main constituents of a sentence
  68. verb
    a word denoting an action, occurrence, or state of existence
  69. agreement
    in grammar, the correspondence between two words
  70. task
    a specific piece of work required to be done
  71. thesis
    an unproved statement advanced as a premise in an argument
  72. tone
    a quality that reveals the attitudes of the author
  73. topic
    the subject matter of a conversation or discussion
  74. transitional
    of or relating to change from one state to another
  75. expression
    a word or phrase that people use in particular situations
  76. unity
    an undivided or unbroken completeness with nothing wanting
  77. usage
    the customary manner in which language is spoken or written
  78. verbal
    of or formed from a content word denoting an action
Created on October 6, 2016 (updated October 7, 2016)

Sign up now (it’s free!)

Whether you’re a teacher or a learner, can put you or your class on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.