Expletives

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Language units large and small

Marked forms of words - Inflection, Derivation, Declension, Conjugation · Diminutive, Augmentative

Groups and categories and properties of words - Syntactic and lexical categories · Grammatical cases · Correlatives · Expletives · Adjuncts

Words and meaning - Morphology · Lexicology · Semiotics · Onomasiology · Figures of speech, expressions, phraseology, etc. · Word similarity · Ambiguity · Modality ·

Segment function, interaction, reference - Clitics · Apposition· Parataxis, Hypotaxis· Attributive· Binding · Coordinations · Word and concept reference

Sentence structure and style - Agreement · Ellipsis· Hedging

Phonology - Articulation · Formants· Prosody · Sound change · Intonation, stress, focus · Diphones · Intervocalic · Glottal stop · Vowel_diagrams · Elision · Ablaut_and_umlaut · Phonics

Speech processing · Praat notes · Praat plugins and toolkit notes · Praat scripting notes

Analyses, models, software - Minimal pairs · Concordances · Linguistics software · Some_relatively_basic_text_processing · Word embeddings · Semantic similarity

Unsorted - Contextualism · · Text summarization · Accent, Dialect, Language · Pidgin, Creole · Natural language typology · Writing_systems · Typography, orthography · Digraphs, ligatures, dipthongs · More linguistic terms and descriptions · Phonetic scripts

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Linguistically, expletives refer to syntactic expletives or to expletive attributives. Both are a type of filler in the syntactic sense.


Syntactic expletives are words that play in syntax but carry no meaning.

The impersonal pronoun 'it' in 'It is raining' is a dummy subject, and does not refer to anything. 'There' can also be used without referring to anything, and therefore not qualifying for a typical pronoun.

Exactly which words and which cases this includes can be argued, and is. Some would argue there is some syntactica weather-entity in "It is raining."h


Expletive attributives are words like 'bloody' in sentences like "There's nothing wrong with the bloody thing!" It acts like an adjective, but gives no semantic detail, just signals that the speaker's annoyed.


Outside of linguistics, expletives mostly refer to bad language, apparently popularized by the appearance of "[expletive deleted]" on the Nixon tapes [1].


See also