Definition of function word in English:

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function word

Pronunciation: /ˈfəNG(k)SHən ˌwərd/

noun

Linguistics
A word whose purpose is more to signal grammatical relationship than the lexical meaning of a sentence, e.g., do in do you live here?
Example sentences
  • Each strong position in the previous line is occupied by the stressed syllable of a content word; each weak position is occupied by a prosodically-weak function word, or by the unstressed syllable of a polysyllabic word.
  • Granted, sometimes the repeated function word could be helpful, as in Hacker's example from page 91.
  • This option is especially likely to present itself in cases where the function word undergoes phonological reduction, or ‘coalesces’ with its host.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: func·tion word

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