Category (system)

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The term category is often used in the sense of category-system. A more precise form of the term is morphosyntactic category.

  • "...the classical 'accidentia' or 'accidents' may be reduced to the more familiar set of dimensions (Tense, Voice, Number, etc.) which form the traditional framework of word-inflection. In the preceding discussion we have often referred to these as categories; of the various grammatical uses of this term this is perhaps the one which sits most appropriately. But since it can also be used more generally (Proper Nouns, for example, are another 'category' in conventional usage), it will be helpful to have a qualifying term for this type in particular. We will therefore refer to the intersecting categories of the morphosyntactic categories specifically." (Matthews 1974:66)


Category is also often used for the individual terms of a category system such as nominative, accusative, future, pluperfect.


  • Matthews, Peter H. 1974. Morphology: an introduction to the theory of word-structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Other languages

German Kategorie (System)