Education

Step 4 - How to Formalize the Term Entry

We’ve already covered how to write definitions, the communication of the concept of an instance we see or think about. We’ve covered some pretty basic rules about definition types and what should and shouldn’t be in them. Now we have to cover a few rules about how to express the term itself.

Why do we have to set rules? Because many people who create glossaries are just plain sloppy (they probably don’t even make their beds in the morning). They’ll have plural forms. Capitalization where none is called for. Unconventional spelling. And – most egregiously – they’ll also include acronyms as terms themselves. Ugh.

In order for modern electronic glossaries and dictionaries to work with Natural Language Processing engines, the following rules for entering the term itself should be followed.

Enter terms as a base form only

If you aren’t aware, nouns and verbs have a base form and additional forms. Here they are:

Base FormOther Forms
Singular Non-Possessive NounPossessive
Plural
Plural Possessive
Simple Present VerbPast
Past Participle
Present Participle
Third Person

Here are the rules for both nouns and verbs.

Noun entry rules
  • All nouns are entered as singular (check irregular nouns).
  • Remove all apostrophes from the last word in a term or phrase.
  • Enter the term or phrase in lower case unless it is a proper noun
  • All terms with “non” in them should have the dash “non-” unless specified in the Oxford English Dictionary
  • NO acronyms should be added as terms, unless this is an acronym dictionary
Noun pluralization rules

Most nouns are pluralized by adding an –s to then end of a word.

There are seven other pluralization rules that depend on what letter(s) the noun ends in.

  1. Most nouns add s to the end.

Examples: cat – cats; car – cars; team – teams

  1. If the noun ends in -ch, -sh, -s, -ss, -x, or -z  add  -es  to the end

Examples: church – churches; tax ­­­­– taxes; pass – passes

  1. If the noun ends in -for -fe change -f or -fe to -ves

Examples: elf – elves; loaf – loaves; thief – thieves

  1. If the noun ends in a vowel and -y add sto the end

Examples: toy – toys; boy – boys; employ – employs

  1. If the noun ends in a vowel and -o add s to the end

Examples: video – videos; studio – studios; zoo – zoos

  1. If the noun ends in a consonant and -ychange -y to -ies

Examples: baby – babies; country – countries; spy – spies

  1. If the noun ends in a consonant and -o add -esto the end

Examples: hero – heroes; potato – potatoes; volcano – volcanoes

Irregular nouns follow none of these rules.

Verb entry rules

When adding verbs to the dictionary, ensure that you follow these rules:

  • Verbs are entered in simple present tense
  • Remove any conjugations. (check irregular verbs)
  • Enter the term or phrase in lower case.
Verb conjugation rules

Most verbs are conjugated by following these rules.

  1. Past tense: add –d,-ed, or –t to end of verb
  2. For verbs ending in –y change –y to -i and add -ed
  3. Past participle: add -d or –ed or –t to end of verb
  4. For verbs ending in –y change –y to -i and add -ed
  5. Present Participle: add -ing to end of verb
  6. For verbs ending in –e remove –e before adding –ing.

This rule excludes verbs ending in –ee. Verbs ending in –ee follow normal convention of adding –ing to the end.

  1. Third Person: add -s or -es to end of verb
  2. For verbs ending in –y change –y to -i and add -es

Irregular verbs, however, do not follow the rules for past and past participle conjugation. Verbs are irregular when their past tense and past participle forms are different from one another and those forms are not formed by adding -ed, -d, or -t to the base form.

Dealing with Irregular Verbs

Verbs are considered to be irregular when their past tense and past participle forms are different from one another and those forms are not formed by adding -ed, -d, or -t to the base form. Here are a few irregular verbs.

VerbPastPast participle
arisearosearisen
beginbeganbegun
catchcaughtcaught
dodiddone
fallfellfallen
gowentgone
hidehidhidden
laylaidlaid
lielaylain

There are great resources to learn more about irregular verbs online. One of them is here: http://speakspeak.com/resources/vocabulary-general-english/english-irregular-verbs

The next step to writing advanced definitions is to add semantic relationships to the definiton.

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