The BNC Basic (C5) Tagset

There follows a brief description of the Basic Tagset used for word class annotation of the whole of the British National Corpus. The list is extracted from a larger document, A users guide to the Grammatical Tagging of the BNC, a draft of which is also available.

Each tag consists of three characters. Generally, the first two characters indicate the general part of speech, and the third character is used to indicate a subcategory. When the most general, unmarked category of a part of speech is indicated, in general the third character is 0. (For example, AJ0 is the tag for the most general class of adjectives.)

AJ0 Adjective (general or positive) (e.g. good, old, beautiful)

AJC Comparative adjective (e.g. better, older)

AJS Superlative adjective (e.g. best, oldest)

AT0 Article (e.g. the, a, an, no) [N.B. no is included among articles, which are defined here as determiner words which typically begin a noun phrase, but which cannot occur as the head of a noun phrase.]

AV0 General adverb: an adverb not subclassified as AVP or AVQ (see below) (e.g. often, well, longer (adv.), furthest. [Note that adverbs, unlike adjectives, are not tagged as positive, comparative, or superlative.This is because of the relative rarity of comparative and superlative adverbs.]

AVP Adverb particle (e.g. up, off, out) [N.B. AVP is used for such "prepositional adverbs", whether or not they are used idiomatically in a phrasal verb: e.g. in 'Come out here' and 'I can't hold out any longer', the same AVP tag is used for out.

AVQ Wh-adverb (e.g. when, where, how, why, wherever) [The same tag is used, whether the word occurs in interrogative or relative use.]

CJC Coordinating conjunction (e.g. and, or, but)

CJS Subordinating conjunction (e.g. although, when)

CJT The subordinating conjunction that [N.B. that is tagged CJT when it introduces not only a nominal clause, but also a relative clause, as in 'the day that follows Christmas'. Some theories treat that here as a relative pronoun, whereas others treat it as a conjunction.We have adopted the latter analysis.]

CRD Cardinal number (e.g. one, 3, fifty-five, 3609)

DPS Possessive determiner (e.g. your, their, his)

DT0 General determiner: i.e. a determiner which is not a DTQ. [Here a determiner is defined as a word which typically occurs either as the first word in a noun phrase, or as the head of a noun phrase. E.g. This is tagged DT0 both in 'This is my house' and in 'This house is mine'.]

DTQ Wh-determiner (e.g. which, what, whose, whichever) [The category of determiner here is defined as for DT0 above. These words are tagged as wh-determiners whether they occur in interrogative use or in relative use.]

EX0 Existential there, i.e. there occurring in the there is ... or there are ... construction

ITJ Interjection or other isolate (e.g. oh, yes, mhm, wow)

NN0 Common noun, neutral for number (e.g. aircraft, data, committee) [N.B. Singular collective nouns such as committee and team are tagged NN0, on the grounds that they are capable of taking singular or plural agreement with the following verb: e.g. 'The committee disagrees/disagree'.]

NN1 Singular common noun (e.g. pencil, goose, time, revelation)

NN2 Plural common noun (e.g. pencils, geese, times, revelations)

NP0 Proper noun (e.g. London, Michael, Mars, IBM) [N.B. the distinction between singular and plural proper nouns is not indicated in the tagset, plural proper nouns being a comparative rarity.]

ORD Ordinal numeral (e.g. first, sixth, 77th, last) . [N.B. The ORD tag is used whether these words are used in a nominal or in an adverbial role. Next and last, as "general ordinals", are also assigned to this category.]

PNI Indefinite pronoun (e.g. none, everything, one [as pronoun], nobody) [N.B. This tag applies to words which always function as [heads of] noun phrases. Words like some and these, which can also occur before a noun head in an article-like function, are tagged as determiners (see DT0 and AT0 above).]

PNP Personal pronoun (e.g. I, you, them, ours) [Note that possessive pronouns like ours and theirs are tagged as personal pronouns.]

PNQ Wh-pronoun (e.g. who, whoever, whom) [N.B. These words are tagged as wh-pronouns whether they occur in interrogative or in relative use.]

PNX Reflexive pronoun (e.g. myself, yourself, itself, ourselves)

POS The possessive or genitive marker 's or ' (e.g. for 'Peter's or somebody else's', the sequence of tags is: NP0 POS CJC PNI AV0 POS)

PRF The preposition of. Because of its frequency and its almost exclusively postnominal function, of is assigned a special tag of its own.

PRP Preposition (except for of) (e.g. about, at, in, on, on behalf of, with)

PUL Punctuation: left bracket - i.e. ( or [

PUN Punctuation: general separating mark - i.e. . , ! , : ; - or ?

PUQ Punctuation: quotation mark - i.e. ' or "

PUR Punctuation: right bracket - i.e. ) or ]

TO0 Infinitive marker to

UNC Unclassified items which are not appropriately classified as items of the English lexicon. [Items tagged UNC include foreign (non-English) words, special typographical symbols, formulae, and (in spoken language) hesitation fillers such as er and erm.]

VBB The present tense forms of the verb BE, except for is, 's: i.e. am, are, 'm, 're and be [subjunctive or imperative]

VBD The past tense forms of the verb BE: was and were

VBG The -ing form of the verb BE: being

VBI The infinitive form of the verb BE: be

VBN The past participle form of the verb BE: been

VBZ The -s form of the verb BE: is, 's

VDB The finite base form of the verb BE: do

VDD The past tense form of the verb DO: did

VDG The -ing form of the verb DO: doing

VDI The infinitive form of the verb DO: do

VDN The past participle form of the verb DO: done

VDZ The -s form of the verb DO: does, 's

VHB The finite base form of the verb HAVE: have, 've

VHD The past tense form of the verb HAVE: had, 'd

VHG The -ing form of the verb HAVE: having

VHI The infinitive form of the verb HAVE: have

VHN The past participle form of the verb HAVE: had

VHZ The -s form of the verb HAVE: has, 's

VM0 Modal auxiliary verb (e.g. will, would, can, could, 'll, 'd)

VVB The finite base form of lexical verbs (e.g. forget, send, live, return) [Including the imperative and present subjunctive]

VVD The past tense form of lexical verbs (e.g. forgot, sent, lived, returned)

VVG The -ing form of lexical verbs (e.g. forgetting, sending, living, returning)

VVI The infinitive form of lexical verbs (e.g. forget, send, live, return)

VVN The past participle form of lexical verbs (e.g. forgotten, sent, lived, returned)

VVZ The -s form of lexical verbs (e.g. forgets, sends, lives, returns)

XX0 The negative particle not or n't

ZZ0 Alphabetical symbols (e.g. A, a, B, b, c, d)

Total number of grammatical tags in the BNC Basic Tagset: 61

2. A List of Ambiguity Tags