The Zero grammar words

zedAt this the completion of my alphabetical blog on grammar, I will examine those grammar exceptions that The Cambridge Guide to English Usage (Pam Peters) describes as the zero adverbs, zero conjunction, zero past tense, and zero plurals.

We are taught that adverbs mostly end in the suffix -ly yet there are many that do not. These include:

  • adverbs that double as prepositions — above, after, before
  • negative adverbs — not, never, no
  • adverbs of time — often, soon, then
  • focusing adverbs — also, even, only
  • modifying adverbs — rather, quite, very

The zero conjunction occurs when the conjunction introducing a subordinate clause is omitted. This happens when the conjunction precedes a noun (content) or adverbial clause, and refers to the conjunction ‘that’. For example, I thought (that) you had walked the dog.

Some verbs stay the same in the past tense as they do in the present tense or past participle. Examples of verbs that operate this way include bid, burst, cut, hit, hurt, let, put, set, shut, slit, split, spread, sweat, and thrust.

Similarly, there are some nouns that remain the same whether they are singular or plural. Consider the following: deer, fish, giraffe, pheasant, sheep, series, and species. And there are some items that only exist as a plural but refer to a single item because of the two (or more) parts  in them. These include binoculars, trousers, clothes, means, news, scissors, and earnings.

I hope you enjoyed this series. More blogs on a different theme will begin soon. Remember, if you need help with editing and proofreading, send me an email. My website is .


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