Section 3: Using Correct Terms

As you develop your analytical skills, you will also want to develop the habit of using grammatical terms as precisely as possible. Being precise in your use of grammatical terms will be easier as you analyze in context. Focusing on the way structures are interacting in the context of a particular sentence will help you avoid "list dependence" and insure that you take the time necessary to analyze closely.

For example, at the WORD level, you can’t just call a word an "indefinite." Is it an indefinite determiner or an indefinite pronoun? Likewise, you can't just call a word a "determiner." Is it an definite article? Is it a demonstrative determiner? At the phrase level, you can't just call a phrase a "participle phrase." Is it a present participle phrase? A past participle phrase? A gerund? At the clause level, you can't just call a clause a "dependent clause." Is it a subordinate clause? A relative clause? A that-clause? These are all different forms and can function differently in a sentence. 

So a good rule of thumb is to be as precise as possible in your language. If you are diligent in your analysis, and confident in performing your tests, then you should be able to use the most precise term possible to describe your analysis.