We can classify each word in the English language in one of the eight different “parts of speech.”
In this lesson, we will discuss all eight different parts of speech. Let’s get started.
It is important to understand the different parts of speech if you want to understand how words may and should be joined in groups together for making sentences that are both readable and grammatically correct.
Understanding the parts of speech is additionally important if you want to punctuate sentences correctly.
The eight (8) parts of speech are the following nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, conjunctions, interjections, and prepositions.
Nouns are generally defined as persons, places, or things; however, an idea is also a noun. To give an example: love is surely not a tangible thing, not something that can be held or seen, but it definitely and clearly exists, so it is a noun as well.
We can divide nouns into two (2) main categories: the proper nouns and the common nouns. A proper noun is the name of people or a place that is capitalized (John Smith, Aims Community College, etc.). A common noun is a name that doesn’t require capitalization (school, book, chair, etc.).
Verbs are words that describe an action or a state of being. This second element of our definition is important because there are many people who believe that a verb is always an action word that we can visualize, which true of action verbs: walk, run, play, jump, scream, sing, etc.
However, we also have linking verbs. This type of verbs does not express action. They rather express identity, existence, or classification. The most common linking verbs are the following: is, was, am, were, are, as well as verb phrases that end in be, being, been.
Verbs are often changing their forms as different endings will be added to them. These endings can be changed to show the relationship of the verb to time. We call this the verb’s tense.
Pronouns are words that are used for replacing nouns. We can, for example, instead of “Sam likes pizza.” say “He likes pizza.” and use “He” as a substitute for “Sam.”
A writer, however, should be careful to use pronouns as they should only then be used when a noun has actually been used first. It needs to be crystal clear to which noun the pronoun refers and is replacing.
Adjectives modify (limit or describe) nouns or pronouns. Essentially, they provide additional information about persons, places, or things. For example, in this sentence: “Frank is a skinny, tall man”, both skinny and tall are adjectives because they are both used to describe Frank.
Just like adjectives, adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. In this sentence: “Susan slowly walked towards the door”, the word “slowly” is serving as an adverb as it is describing the way she walked.
Prepositions show the relationship between nouns or pronouns and other words in a sentence. This specific relationship can be spatial, directional, or temporal.
For example, in this sentence: “Mark walked towards our house,” the word “towards” is the preposition as it is showing direction. When linked with pronouns or nouns, a preposition creates a word group referred to as a prepositional phrase. In our example, “towards the house” is the prepositional phrase.
We use conjunctions to link parts of sentences or words together. We have four (4) different types of conjunctions. There are: coordinating, subordinating, correlative, and adverb.
- Coordinating conjunctions: (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). We use coordinating conjunctions for connecting similar independent clauses (sentences) and words together. Often, coordinating conjunctions are referred to using the acronym FANBOYS.
- Subordinating conjunctions: These are placed at the beginning of a subordinate clause and are used for the connection of a subordinate clause and the rest of a sentence. They are also referred to as “the independent clause”. Common subordinating conjunctions are these words: after, although, as, because, before, though, even though, once, if, rather than, that, since, unless, when until, whenever, while, whereas.
- Conjunctive adverbs: These are transitional words that are used for the connection of one sentence to another. The most common conjunctive adverbs are these: in addition, additionally, moreover, also, furthermore, consequently, otherwise, instead, however, for instance, conversely, for example, on the other hand, nevertheless, therefore, accordingly, generally, in other words, in fact, finally, in conclusion.
- Correlative conjunctions: These are a combination of one coordinating conjunction and some other word. For example, in this sentence: “Both John and I have a hard time with our homework”, the words “both” and “and” are our correlative conjunctions.
Interjections are words added to any sentence for conveying emotion. They are not grammatically related to or connected with other parts of a sentence. An interjection may also serve as just a single word sentence, for example: Wow!
In academic writing, interjections are only rarely used, and they, usually, should be avoided in essays.
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Last Updated on April 7, 2021.