function word


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function word (plural function words)

  1. (linguistics) A word that has little meaning when standing alone, but instead serves to express grammatical relationships with other words within a sentence, or specify the attitude or mood of the speaker, such as prepositions, pronouns, auxiliary verbs, or conjunctions.
    Synonyms: functor, grammatical word
    Antonyms: content word, lexical word
    • 2018, Clarence Green; James Lambert, “Position vectors, homologous chromosomes and gamma rays: Promoting disciplinary literacy through Secondary Phrase Lists”, in English for Specific Purposes, DOI:10.1016/j.esp.2018.08.004, page 2:
      Durrant (2009), for example, developed a list of 1000 academic two-word bigrams, of which 763 were lexical words combined with function words.