A tagset is a list of part-of-speech tags (POS tags for short), i.e. labels used to indicate the part of speech and sometimes also other grammatical categories (case, tense etc.) of each token in a text corpus.

Modified English TreeTagger part-of-speech tagset is available in English corpora annotated by the tool TreeTagger that was developed by Helmut Schmid in the TC project at the Institute for Computational Linguistics of the University of Stuttgart and containing modifications developed by Sketch Engine (currently pipeline version 2).

This is modified tagset of default TreeTagger tagset.

An Example of a tag in the CQL concordance search box: [tag=”NNS”] finds all nouns in plural, e.g. people, years (note: please make sure that you use straight double quotation marks)


PoS tag Description Example
CC coordinating conjunction and
CD cardinal number 1, third
DT determiner the
EX existential there there is
FW foreign word d’hoevre
IN preposition, subordinating conjunction in, of, like
IN/that that as subordinator that
JJ adjective green
JJR adjective, comparative greener
JJS adjective, superlative greenest
LS list marker 1)
MD modal could, will
NN noun, singular or mass table
NNZ noun, singular or mass, possessive table’s
NNS noun plural tables
NNSZ noun plural, possessive tables’
NP proper noun, singular John
NPZ proper noun, singular, possessive John’s
NPS proper noun, plural Vikings
NPSZ proper noun, plural, possessive Vikings’
PDT predeterminer both the boys
Z possessive ending someone else’s
PP personal pronoun I, he, it
PPZ possessive pronoun my, his, one’s
RB adverb however, usually, naturally, here, good
RBR adverb, comparative better
RBS adverb, superlative best
RP particle give up
SENT Sentence-break punctuation . ! ?
SYM Symbol / [ = *
TO infinitive ‘to’ togo
UH interjection uhhuhhuhh
VB verb be, base form be
VBD verb be, past tense was, were
VBG verb be, gerund/present participle being
VBN verb be, past participle been
VBP verb be, sing. present, non-3d am, are
VBZ verb be, 3rd person sing. present is
VH verb have, base form have
VHD verb have, past tense had
VHG verb have, gerund/present participle having
VHN verb have, past participle had
VHP verb have, sing. present, non-3d have
VHZ verb have, 3rd person sing. present has
VV verb, base form take
VVD verb, past tense took
VVG verb, gerund/present participle taking
VVN verb, past participle taken
VVP verb, sing. present, non-3d take
VVZ verb, 3rd person sing. present takes
WDT wh-determiner which
WP wh-pronoun who, what
WPZ possessive wh-pronoun whose
WRB wh-abverb where, when
# # #
$ $ $
Quotation marks ‘ “
`` Opening quotation marks ‘ “
( Opening brackets ( {
) Closing brackets ) }
, Comma ,
: Punctuation – ; : — …

Main differences to default Penn tagset

In TreeTagger tagset

  • Distinguishes be(VB) and have(VH) from other (non-modal) verbs (VV)
  • For proper nouns, NNP and NNPS have become NP and NPS
  • SENT for end-of-sentence punctuation (other punctuation tags may also differ)

In TreeTagger + Sketch Engine

  • to now gets IN when it is a preposition and TO only when it is an infinitive marker


  • updated TreeTagger model
  • various changes in tokenization
  • “would” lemmatized as “would”
  • possessive clitic (Saxon genitive) re-tokenized (joined to preceding word) in almost all cases
    • changed tags: POS -> Z, PP$ -> PPZ, WP$ -> WPZ
    • new tags: NNZ, NNSZ, NPZ, NPSZ
  • Default word sketch grammar has human-readable relation names


M. Marcus, B. Santorini and M.A. Marcinkiewicz (1993). Building a large annotated corpus of English: The Penn Treebank. In Computational Linguistics, volume 19, number 2, pp. 313–330.