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Parts of Speech

What are the parts of speech, a formal definition.

Table of Contents

The Part of Speech Is Determined by the Word's Function

Are there 8 or 9 parts of speech, the nine parts of speech, (1) adjective, (3) conjunction, (4) determiner, (5) interjection, (7) preposition, (8) pronoun, why the parts of speech are important, video lesson.

parts of speech

  • You need to dig a well . (noun)
  • You look well . (adjective)
  • You dance well . (adverb)
  • Well , I agree. (interjection)
  • My eyes will well up. (verb)
  • red, happy, enormous
  • Ask the boy in the red jumper.
  • I live in a happy place.
  • I caught a fish this morning! I mean an enormous one.
  • happily, loosely, often
  • They skipped happily to the counter.
  • Tie the knot loosely so they can escape.
  • I often walk to work.
  • It is an intriguingly magic setting.
  • He plays the piano extremely well.
  • and, or, but
  • it is a large and important city.
  • Shall we run to the hills or hide in the bushes?
  • I know you are lying, but I cannot prove it.
  • my, those, two, many
  • My dog is fine with those cats.
  • There are two dogs but many cats.
  • ouch, oops, eek
  • Ouch , that hurt.
  • Oops , it's broken.
  • Eek! A mouse just ran past my foot!
  • leader, town, apple
  • Take me to your leader .
  • I will see you in town later.
  • An apple fell on his head .
  • in, near, on, with
  • Sarah is hiding in the box.
  • I live near the train station.
  • Put your hands on your head.
  • She yelled with enthusiasm.
  • she, we, they, that
  • Joanne is smart. She is also funny.
  • Our team has studied the evidence. We know the truth.
  • Jack and Jill went up the hill, but they never returned.
  • That is clever!
  • work, be, write, exist
  • Tony works down the pit now. He was unemployed.
  • I will write a song for you.
  • I think aliens exist .

Are you a visual learner? Do you prefer video to text? Here is a list of all our grammar videos .

Video for Each Part of Speech

english grammar parts of speech

The Most Important Writing Issues

The top issue related to adjectives.

Don't write...Do write...
very happy boy delighted boy
very angry livid
extremely posh hotel luxurious hotel
really serious look stern look

The Top Issue Related to Adverbs

  • Extremely annoyed, she stared menacingly at her rival.
  • Infuriated, she glared at her rival.

The Top Issue Related to Conjunctions

correct tick

  • Burger, Fries, and a shake
  • Fish, chips and peas

The Top Issue Related to Determiners

wrong cross

The Top Issue Related to Interjections

The top issue related to nouns, the top issue related to prepositions, the top issue related to pronouns, the top issue related to verbs.

Unnatural (Overusing Nouns)Natural (Using a Verb)
They are in agreement that he was in violation of several regulations.They agree he violated several regulations.
She will be in attendance to present a demonstration of how the weather will have an effect on our process.She will attend to demonstrate how the weather will affect our process.
  • Crack the parts of speech to help with learning a foreign language or to take your writing to the next level.

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  • Knowledge Base
  • Parts of speech

The 8 Parts of Speech | Chart, Definition & Examples

The 8 Parts of Speech

A part of speech (also called a word class ) is a category that describes the role a word plays in a sentence. Understanding the different parts of speech can help you analyze how words function in a sentence and improve your writing.

The parts of speech are classified differently in different grammars, but most traditional grammars list eight parts of speech in English: nouns , pronouns , verbs , adjectives , adverbs , prepositions , conjunctions , and interjections . Some modern grammars add others, such as determiners and articles .

Many words can function as different parts of speech depending on how they are used. For example, “laugh” can be a noun (e.g., “I like your laugh”) or a verb (e.g., “don’t laugh”).

Table of contents

  • Prepositions
  • Conjunctions
  • Interjections

Other parts of speech

Interesting language articles, frequently asked questions.

A noun is a word that refers to a person, concept, place, or thing. Nouns can act as the subject of a sentence (i.e., the person or thing performing the action) or as the object of a verb (i.e., the person or thing affected by the action).

There are numerous types of nouns, including common nouns (used to refer to nonspecific people, concepts, places, or things), proper nouns (used to refer to specific people, concepts, places, or things), and collective nouns (used to refer to a group of people or things).

Ella lives in France .

Other types of nouns include countable and uncountable nouns , concrete nouns , abstract nouns , and gerunds .

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A pronoun is a word used in place of a noun. Pronouns typically refer back to an antecedent (a previously mentioned noun) and must demonstrate correct pronoun-antecedent agreement . Like nouns, pronouns can refer to people, places, concepts, and things.

There are numerous types of pronouns, including personal pronouns (used in place of the proper name of a person), demonstrative pronouns (used to refer to specific things and indicate their relative position), and interrogative pronouns (used to introduce questions about things, people, and ownership).

That is a horrible painting!

A verb is a word that describes an action (e.g., “jump”), occurrence (e.g., “become”), or state of being (e.g., “exist”). Verbs indicate what the subject of a sentence is doing. Every complete sentence must contain at least one verb.

Verbs can change form depending on subject (e.g., first person singular), tense (e.g., simple past), mood (e.g., interrogative), and voice (e.g., passive voice ).

Regular verbs are verbs whose simple past and past participle are formed by adding“-ed” to the end of the word (or “-d” if the word already ends in “e”). Irregular verbs are verbs whose simple past and past participles are formed in some other way.

“I’ve already checked twice.”

“I heard that you used to sing .”

Other types of verbs include auxiliary verbs , linking verbs , modal verbs , and phrasal verbs .

An adjective is a word that describes a noun or pronoun. Adjectives can be attributive , appearing before a noun (e.g., “a red hat”), or predicative , appearing after a noun with the use of a linking verb like “to be” (e.g., “the hat is red ”).

Adjectives can also have a comparative function. Comparative adjectives compare two or more things. Superlative adjectives describe something as having the most or least of a specific characteristic.

Other types of adjectives include coordinate adjectives , participial adjectives , and denominal adjectives .

An adverb is a word that can modify a verb, adjective, adverb, or sentence. Adverbs are often formed by adding “-ly” to the end of an adjective (e.g., “slow” becomes “slowly”), although not all adverbs have this ending, and not all words with this ending are adverbs.

There are numerous types of adverbs, including adverbs of manner (used to describe how something occurs), adverbs of degree (used to indicate extent or degree), and adverbs of place (used to describe the location of an action or event).

Talia writes quite quickly.

Other types of adverbs include adverbs of frequency , adverbs of purpose , focusing adverbs , and adverbial phrases .

A preposition is a word (e.g., “at”) or phrase (e.g., “on top of”) used to show the relationship between the different parts of a sentence. Prepositions can be used to indicate aspects such as time , place , and direction .

I left the cup on the kitchen counter.

A conjunction is a word used to connect different parts of a sentence (e.g., words, phrases, or clauses).

The main types of conjunctions are coordinating conjunctions (used to connect items that are grammatically equal), subordinating conjunctions (used to introduce a dependent clause), and correlative conjunctions (used in pairs to join grammatically equal parts of a sentence).

You can choose what movie we watch because I chose the last time.

An interjection is a word or phrase used to express a feeling, give a command, or greet someone. Interjections are a grammatically independent part of speech, so they can often be excluded from a sentence without affecting the meaning.

Types of interjections include volitive interjections (used to make a demand or request), emotive interjections (used to express a feeling or reaction), cognitive interjections (used to indicate thoughts), and greetings and parting words (used at the beginning and end of a conversation).

Ouch ! I hurt my arm.

I’m, um , not sure.

The traditional classification of English words into eight parts of speech is by no means the only one or the objective truth. Grammarians have often divided them into more or fewer classes. Other commonly mentioned parts of speech include determiners and articles.

  • Determiners

A determiner is a word that describes a noun by indicating quantity, possession, or relative position.

Common types of determiners include demonstrative determiners (used to indicate the relative position of a noun), possessive determiners (used to describe ownership), and quantifiers (used to indicate the quantity of a noun).

My brother is selling his old car.

Other types of determiners include distributive determiners , determiners of difference , and numbers .

An article is a word that modifies a noun by indicating whether it is specific or general.

  • The definite article the is used to refer to a specific version of a noun. The can be used with all countable and uncountable nouns (e.g., “the door,” “the energy,” “the mountains”).
  • The indefinite articles a and an refer to general or unspecific nouns. The indefinite articles can only be used with singular countable nouns (e.g., “a poster,” “an engine”).

There’s a concert this weekend.

If you want to know more about nouns , pronouns , verbs , and other parts of speech, make sure to check out some of our language articles with explanations and examples.

Nouns & pronouns

  • Common nouns
  • Proper nouns
  • Collective nouns
  • Personal pronouns
  • Uncountable and countable nouns
  • Verb tenses
  • Phrasal verbs
  • Types of verbs
  • Active vs passive voice
  • Subject-verb agreement

A is an indefinite article (along with an ). While articles can be classed as their own part of speech, they’re also considered a type of determiner .

The indefinite articles are used to introduce nonspecific countable nouns (e.g., “a dog,” “an island”).

In is primarily classed as a preposition, but it can be classed as various other parts of speech, depending on how it is used:

  • Preposition (e.g., “ in the field”)
  • Noun (e.g., “I have an in with that company”)
  • Adjective (e.g., “Tim is part of the in crowd”)
  • Adverb (e.g., “Will you be in this evening?”)

As a part of speech, and is classed as a conjunction . Specifically, it’s a coordinating conjunction .

And can be used to connect grammatically equal parts of a sentence, such as two nouns (e.g., “a cup and plate”), or two adjectives (e.g., “strong and smart”). And can also be used to connect phrases and clauses.

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Understanding the Parts of Speech in English

Yes, the parts of speech in English are extensive and complex. But we’ve made it easy for you to start learning them by gathering the most basic and essential information in this easy-to-follow and comprehensive guide.

White text over orange background reads "Parts of Speech."

Parts of Speech: Quick Summary

Parts of speech assign words to different categories. There are eight different types in English. Keep in mind that a word can belong to more than one part of speech.

Learn About:

  • Parts of Speech
  • Prepositions
  • Conjunctions
  • Interjections

Using the Parts of Speech Correctly In Your Writing

Knowing the parts of speech is vital when learning a new language.

When it comes to learning a new language, there are several components you should understand to truly get a grasp of the language and speak it fluently.

It’s not enough to become an expert in just one area. For instance, you can learn and memorize all the intricate grammar rules, but if you don’t practice speaking or writing colloquially, you will find it challenging to use that language in real time.

Conversely, if you don’t spend time trying to learn the rules and technicalities of a language, you’ll also find yourself struggling to use it correctly.

Think of it this way: Language is a tasty, colorful, and nutritious salad. If you fill your bowl with nothing but lettuce, your fluency will be bland, boring, and tasteless. But if you spend time cultivating other ingredients for your salad—like style, word choice, and vocabulary— then it will become a wholesome meal you can share with others.

In this blog post, we’re going to cover one of the many ingredients you’ll need to build a nourishing salad of the English language—the parts of speech.

Let’s get choppin’!

What Are the Parts of Speech in English?

The parts of speech refer to categories to which a word belongs. In English, there are eight of them : verbs , nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections.

Many English words fall into more than one part of speech category. Take the word light as an example. It can function as a verb, noun, or adjective.

Verb: Can you please light the candles?
Noun: The room was filled with a dim, warm light .
Adjective: She wore a light jacket in the cool weather.

The parts of speech in English are extensive. There’s a lot to cover in each category—much more than we can in this blog post. The information below is simply a brief overview of the basics of the parts of speech. Nevertheless, the concise explanations and accompanying example sentences will help you gain an understanding of how to use them correctly.

Graphic shows the eight different parts of speech and their functions.

What Are Verbs?

Verbs are the most essential parts of speech because they move the meaning of sentences along.

A verb can show actions of the body and mind ( jump and think ), occurrences ( happen or occur ), and states of being ( be and exist ). Put differently, verbs breathe life into sentences by describing actions or indicating existence. These parts of speech can also change form to express time , person , number , voice , and mood .

There are several verb categories. A few of them are:

  • Regular and irregular verbs
  • Transitive and intransitive verbs
  • Auxiliary verbs

A few examples of verbs include sing (an irregular action verb), have (which can be a main verb or auxiliary verb), be , which is a state of being verb, and would (another auxiliary verb).

My little sister loves to sing .
I have a dog and her name is Sweet Pea.
I will be there at 5 P.M.
I would like to travel the world someday.

Again, these are just the very basics of English verbs. There’s a lot more that you should learn to be well-versed in this part of speech, but the information above is a good place to start.

What Are Nouns?

Nouns refer to people ( John and child ), places ( store and Italy ), things ( firetruck and pen ), and ideas or concepts ( love and balance ). There are also many categories within nouns. For example, proper nouns name a specific person, place, thing, or idea. These types of nouns are always capitalized.

Olivia is turning five in a few days.
My dream is to visit Tokyo .
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States.
Some argue that Buddhism is a way of life, not a religion.

On the other hand, common nouns are not specific to any particular entity and are used to refer to any member of a general category.

My teacher is the smartest, most caring person I know!
I love roaming around a city I’ve never been to before.
This is my favorite book , which was recommended to me by my father.
There’s nothing more important to me than love .

Nouns can be either singular or plural. Singular nouns refer to a single entity, while plural nouns refer to multiple entities.

Can you move that chair out of the way, please? (Singular)
Can you move those chairs out of the way, please? (Plural)

While many plural nouns are formed by adding an “–s” or “–es,” others have irregular plural forms, meaning they don’t follow the typical pattern.

There was one woman waiting in line.
There were several women waiting in line.

Nouns can also be countable or uncountable . Those that are countable refer to nouns that can be counted as individual units. For example, there can be one book, two books, three books, or more. Uncountable nouns cannot be counted as individual units. Take the word water as an example. You could say I drank some water, but it would be incorrect to say I drank waters. Instead, you would say something like I drank several bottles of water.

What Are Pronouns?

A pronoun is a word that can take the place of other nouns or noun phrases. Pronouns serve the purpose of referring to nouns without having to repeat the word each time. A word (or group of words) that a pronoun refers to is called the antecedent .

Jessica went to the store, and she bought some blueberries.

In the sentence above, Jessica is the antecedent, and she is the referring pronoun. Here’s the same sentence without the proper use of a pronoun:

Jessica went to the store, and Jessica bought some blueberries.

Do you see how the use of a pronoun improves the sentence by avoiding repetitiveness?

Like all the other parts of speech we have covered, pronouns also have various categories.

Personal pronouns replace specific people or things: I, me, you, he, she, him, her, it, we, us, they, them.

When I saw them at the airport, I waved my hands up in the air so they could see me .

Possessive pronouns indicate ownership : mine, ours, yours, his, hers, theirs, whose.

I think that phone is hers .

Reflexive pronouns refer to the subject of a sentence or clause. They are used when the subject and the object of a sentence refer to the same person or thing: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, ourselves, yourselves, themselves.

The iguanas sunned themselves on the roof of my car.

Intensive pronouns have the same form as reflexive pronouns and are used to emphasize or intensify the subject of a sentence.

I will take care of this situation myself .

Indefinite pronouns do not refer to specific individuals or objects but rather to a general or unspecified person, thing, or group. Some examples include someone, everybody, anything, nobody, each, something, and all.

Everybody enjoyed the party. Someone even said it was the best party they had ever attended.

Demonstrative pronouns are used to identify or point to specific pronouns: this, that, these, those.

Can you pick up those pens off the floor?

Interrogative pronouns are used to ask questions and seek information: who, whom, whose, which, what.

Who can help move these heavy boxes?

Relative pronouns connect a clause or a phrase to a noun or pronoun: who, whom, whose, which, that, what, whoever, whichever, whatever.

Christina, who is the hiring manager, is the person whom you should get in touch with.

Reciprocal pronouns are used to refer to individual parts of a plural antecedent. They indicate a mutual or reciprocal relationship between two or more people or things: each other or one another.

The cousins always giggle and share secrets with one another .  

What Are Adjectives?

Adjectives modify nouns or pronouns, usually by describing, identifying, or quantifying them. They play a vital role in adding detail, precision, and imagery to English, allowing us to depict and differentiate the qualities of people, objects, places, and ideas.

The blue house sticks out compared to the other neutral-colored ones. (Describes)
That house is pretty, but I don’t like the color. (Identifies)
There were several houses I liked, but the blue one was unique. (Quantifies)

We should note that identifying or quantifying adjectives are also referred to as determiners. Additionally, articles ( a, an, the ) and numerals ( four or third ) are also used to quantify and identify adjectives.

Descriptive adjectives have other forms (known as comparative and superlative adjectives ) that allow for comparisons. For example, the comparative of the word small is smaller, while the superlative is smallest.

Proper adjectives (which are derived from proper nouns) describe specific nouns. They usually retain the same spelling or are slightly modified, but they’re always capitalized. For example, the proper noun France can be turned into the proper adjective French.

What Are Adverbs?

Adverbs are words that modify or describe verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, or entire clauses. Although many adverbs end in “–ly,” not all of them do. Also, some words that end in “–ly” are adjectives, not adverbs ( lovely ).

She dances beautifully .

In the sentence above, beautifully modifies the verb dances.

We visited an extremely tall building.

Here, the adverb extremely modifies the adjective tall.

He had to run very quickly to not miss the train.

The adverb very modifies the adverb quickly.

Interestingly , the experiment yielded unexpected results that left us baffled.

In this example, the word interestingly modifies the independent clause that comprises the rest of the sentence (which is why they’re called sentence adverbs ).

Like adjectives, adverbs can also have other forms when making comparisons. For example:

strongly, more strongly, most strongly, less strongly, least strongly

What Are Prepositions?

Prepositions provide context and establish relationships between nouns, pronouns, and other words in a sentence. They indicate time, location, direction, manner, and other vital information. Prepositions can fall into several subcategories. For instance, on can indicate physical location, but it can also be used to express time.

Place the bouquet of roses on the table.
We will meet on Monday.

There are many prepositions. A few examples include: about, above, across, after, before, behind, beneath, beside, during, except, for, from, in, inside, into, like, near, of, off, onto, past, regarding, since, through, toward, under, until, with, without.

Prepositions can contain more than one word, like according to and with regard to.

What Are Conjunctions?

Conjunctions are words that join words, phrases, or clauses together within a sentence and provide information about the relationship between those words. There are different types of conjunctions.

Coordinating conjunctions connect words, phrases, or clauses of equal importance: and, but, for, not, or, so, yet.

I like to sing, and she likes to dance.

Correlative conjunctions come in pairs and join balanced elements of a sentence: both…and, just as…so, not only…but also, either…or, neither…nor, whether…or.

You can either come with us and have fun, or stay at home and be bored.

Subordinating conjunctions connect dependent clauses to independent clauses. A few examples include: after, although, even though, since, unless, until, when , and while.

They had a great time on their stroll, even though it started raining and they got soaked.

Conjunctive adverbs are adverbs that function as conjunctions, connecting independent clauses or sentences. Examples of conjunctive adverbs are also, anyway, besides, however, meanwhile, nevertheless, otherwise, similarly, and therefore .

I really wanted to go to the party. However , I was feeling sick and decided to stay in.
I really wanted to go to the party; however , I was feeling sick and decided to stay in.

What Are Interjections?

Interjections are words that express strong emotions, sudden reactions, or exclamations. This part of speech is usually a standalone word or phrase, but even when it is  part of a sentence, it does not relate grammatically to the rest of .

There are several interjections. Examples include: ahh, alas, bravo, eww, hello, please, thanks, and oops.

Ahh ! I couldn’t believe what was happening.

When it comes to improving your writing skills, understanding the parts of speech is as important as adding other ingredients besides lettuce to a salad.

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The 9 Parts of Speech: Definitions and Examples

  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

A part of speech is a term used in traditional grammar for one of the nine main categories into which words are classified according to their functions in sentences, such as nouns or verbs. Also known as word classes, these are the building blocks of grammar.

Every sentence you write or speak in English includes words that fall into some of the nine parts of speech. These include nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, articles/determiners, and interjections. (Some sources include only eight parts of speech and leave interjections in their own category.)

Parts of Speech

  • Word types can be divided into nine parts of speech:
  • prepositions
  • conjunctions
  • articles/determiners
  • interjections
  • Some words can be considered more than one part of speech, depending on context and usage.
  • Interjections can form complete sentences on their own.

Learning the names of the parts of speech probably won't make you witty, healthy, wealthy, or wise. In fact, learning just the names of the parts of speech won't even make you a better writer. However, you will gain a basic understanding of sentence structure  and the  English language by familiarizing yourself with these labels.

Open and Closed Word Classes

The parts of speech are commonly divided into  open classes  (nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs) and  closed classes  (pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, articles/determiners, and interjections). Open classes can be altered and added to as language develops, and closed classes are pretty much set in stone. For example, new nouns are created every day, but conjunctions never change.

In contemporary linguistics , parts of speech are generally referred to as word classes or syntactic categories. The main difference is that word classes are classified according to more strict linguistic criteria. Within word classes, there is the lexical, or open class, and the function, or closed class.

The 9 Parts of Speech

Read about each part of speech below, and practice identifying each.

Nouns are a person, place, thing, or idea. They can take on a myriad of roles in a sentence, from the subject of it all to the object of an action. They are capitalized when they're the official name of something or someone, and they're called proper nouns in these cases. Examples: pirate, Caribbean, ship, freedom, Captain Jack Sparrow.

Pronouns stand in for nouns in a sentence . They are more generic versions of nouns that refer only to people. Examples:​  I, you, he, she, it, ours, them, who, which, anybody, ourselves.

Verbs are action words that tell what happens in a sentence. They can also show a sentence subject's state of being ( is , was ). Verbs change form based on tense (present, past) and count distinction (singular or plural). Examples:  sing, dance, believes, seemed, finish, eat, drink, be, became.

Adjectives describe nouns and pronouns. They specify which one, how much, what kind, and more. Adjectives allow readers and listeners to use their senses to imagine something more clearly. Examples:  hot, lazy, funny, unique, bright, beautiful, poor, smooth.

Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, and even other adverbs. They specify when, where, how, and why something happened and to what extent or how often. Many adjectives can be turned into adjectives by adding the suffix - ly . Examples:  softly, quickly, lazily, often, only, hopefully, sometimes.

Preposition

Prepositions  show spatial, temporal, and role relations between a noun or pronoun and the other words in a sentence. They come at the start of a prepositional phrase , which contains a preposition and its object. Examples:  up, over, against, by, for, into, close to, out of, apart from.

Conjunction

Conjunctions join words, phrases, and clauses in a sentence. There are coordinating, subordinating, and correlative conjunctions. Examples:  and, but, or, so, yet.

Articles and Determiners

Articles and determiners function like adjectives by modifying nouns, but they are different than adjectives in that they are necessary for a sentence to have proper syntax. Articles and determiners specify and identify nouns, and there are indefinite and definite articles. Examples of articles:  a, an, the ; examples of determiners:  these, that, those, enough, much, few, which, what.

Some traditional grammars have treated articles  as a distinct part of speech. Modern grammars, however, more often include articles in the category of determiners , which identify or quantify a noun. Even though they modify nouns like adjectives, articles are different in that they are essential to the proper syntax of a sentence, just as determiners are necessary to convey the meaning of a sentence, while adjectives are optional.

Interjection

Interjections are expressions that can stand on their own or be contained within sentences. These words and phrases often carry strong emotions and convey reactions. Examples:  ah, whoops, ouch, yabba dabba do!

How to Determine the Part of Speech

Only interjections ( Hooray! ) have a habit of standing alone; every other part of speech must be contained within a sentence and some are even required in sentences (nouns and verbs). Other parts of speech come in many varieties and may appear just about anywhere in a sentence.

To know for sure what part of speech a word falls into, look not only at the word itself but also at its meaning, position, and use in a sentence.

For example, in the first sentence below,  work  functions as a noun; in the second sentence, a verb; and in the third sentence, an adjective:

  • Bosco showed up for  work  two hours late.
  • The noun  work  is the thing Bosco shows up for.
  • He will have to  work  until midnight.
  • The verb  work  is the action he must perform.
  • His  work  permit expires next month.
  • The  attributive noun  (or converted adjective) work  modifies the noun  permit .

Learning the names and uses of the basic parts of speech is just one way to understand how sentences are constructed.

Dissecting Basic Sentences

To form a basic complete sentence, you only need two elements: a noun (or pronoun standing in for a noun) and a verb. The noun acts as a subject, and the verb, by telling what action the subject is taking, acts as the predicate. 

In the short sentence above,  birds  is the noun and  fly  is the verb. The sentence makes sense and gets the point across.

You can have a sentence with just one word without breaking any sentence formation rules. The short sentence below is complete because it's a verb command with an understood "you" noun.

Here, the pronoun, standing in for a noun, is implied and acts as the subject. The sentence is really saying, "(You) go!"

Constructing More Complex Sentences

Use more parts of speech to add additional information about what's happening in a sentence to make it more complex. Take the first sentence from above, for example, and incorporate more information about how and why birds fly.

  • Birds fly when migrating before winter.

Birds and fly remain the noun and the verb, but now there is more description. 

When  is an adverb that modifies the verb fly.  The word before  is a little tricky because it can be either a conjunction, preposition, or adverb depending on the context. In this case, it's a preposition because it's followed by a noun. This preposition begins an adverbial phrase of time ( before winter ) that answers the question of when the birds migrate . Before is not a conjunction because it does not connect two clauses.

  • A List of Exclamations and Interjections in English
  • Sentence Parts and Sentence Structures
  • 100 Key Terms Used in the Study of Grammar
  • Closed Class Words
  • Word Class in English Grammar
  • Prepositional Phrases in English Grammar
  • Foundations of Grammar in Italian
  • The Top 25 Grammatical Terms
  • Open Class Words in English Grammar
  • Telegraphic Speech
  • What Is an Adverb in English Grammar?
  • Pronoun Definition and Examples
  • What Are the Parts of a Prepositional Phrase?
  • Parts of Speech Printable Worksheets
  • Definition and Examples of Function Words in English
  • Lesson Plan: Label Sentences with Parts of Speech
  • Parts of Speech
  • Sentence Structure
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What are the parts of speech?

Today's the day for you to learn about this important grammatical concept! But first...let's see what the parts of speech have to do with your clothes.

Parts of Speech Chart

Imagine that it's laundry day, and you've just finished washing and drying your clothes. You dump the contents of the laundry basket onto your bed, and you begin to organize everything. You fold matching socks together, you create a pile of perfectly folded shirts that you would be proud to show Marie Kondo, and you do the same thing with your pants, jackets, and everything else.

In the same way that we organize our clothes into groups based on each item's function and features, we organize our words into categories based on each word's function and features. We call these categories of words the parts of speech .

Some people categorize words into eight parts of speech, and some people categorize them into nine parts of speech. Neither one is wrong; they're just two ways of looking at things. We'll go over these categories below. Here at English Grammar Revolution, we categorize words into eight groups, but I'll tell you about the ninth one as well.

There's one important thing for you to know before we look at these categories: most words can function as more than one part of speech . They will only do one job at a time, but they can do different things in different sentences. Look at the word love in the following sentences.

My  love  of grammar inspired me to make this website.

Here, love is functioning as a noun. It's the subject of the sentence. 

I  love  you.

Now, love is acting as a  verb ! It's telling us an action.

The only way we can know how to categorize a word is to look at how it's acting within a sentence.

Okay, let's check out the parts of speech!

The 8 Parts of Speech

Nouns  name people, places, things, or ideas. They're important parts of our sentences because they perform  important jobs  (subjects, direct objects, predicate nouns, etc.).

A peacock walked through our yard .

The dog howled during the night , and it woke up our whole family .

Sometimes people get bogged down with this part of speech because there are also many subcategories of nouns. This is similar to the way that we have subcategories for our clothes. You may have a whole drawer full of pants, but you may also have different types of pants that you use for different purposes (workout pants, lounge pants, work pants, etc.). This is similar to the way that we can further categorize nouns into smaller groups. 

Here are a few of the subcategories of nouns:  proper nouns, common nouns ,  collective nouns ,  possessive nouns , and compound nouns.

Tip : Other parts of speech also have subcategories. If you're studying this information for the first time, ignore the subcategories and focus on learning about each broader category.

2. Pronouns

Pronouns  take the place of nouns. When most people hear the word pronoun , they think of words like I, we, me, he,   she, and they . These are indeed all pronouns, but they're a part of a subcategory called personal pronouns. Know that there are other kinds of pronouns out there as well. Here are some examples: myself, his, someone , and who .

Here are a few of the subcategories of pronouns:  reflexive pronouns ,  indefinite pronouns ,  possessive pronouns , and  relative pronouns . 

When we walked across the bridge,  we saw someone who  knows you .

I will fix the dishwasher  myself .

Verbs  show actions or states of being. They are integral elements of  sentences .   

The shuttle will fly into space.

The loving mother comforted  and soothed the baby.

In the Montessori tradition of education, they use a large red circle or ball to symbolize a verb, and they often teach children to think of verbs as a sun providing the energy of a sentence. Isn't that a lovely way to think of verbs?

I know that you're getting tired of hearing about subcategories, but linking verbs, action verbs, and helping verbs are described on the  verb page here . 

Modal verbs  are described on that link, and you can learn even more about  action verbs  and  linking verbs  from those links.

4. Adjectives

Adjectives  describe, or  modify , nouns and pronouns. I like to think of them as adding color to language. It would be hard to describe a beautiful sunset or the way a touching story makes us feel without using adjectives.

The wise, handsome owl had orange eyes.

The caring father rocked the baby.

One helpful strategy for learning about and identifying adjectives is to learn how they are diagrammed . Sentence diagrams are pictures of sentences that help us see how all of the words are grammatically related. Since adjectives modify nouns and pronouns, we diagram them on slanted lines under the nouns/pronouns that they are modifying. 

Sentence diagram of adjectives

My green and white book fell.

Book is a noun. It's the subject of this sentence. My, green , and white are all adjectives describing book , so we diagram them on slanted lines underneath book . Isn't that a great way to SEE what adjectives do?

Nine Parts of Speech

When people categorize words into eight parts of speech, they say that articles/determiners ( a, an,   the, this, that, etc. ) are subcategories of adjectives.  

When people categorize words into nine parts of speech, they say that articles/determiners make up their own category and are not a part of the adjective category. 

Adverbs  modify (describe) verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Adverbs are similar to adjectives in that they both modify things. 

The extremely cute koala hugged its mom very tightly .

The dog howled loudly .

Sentence diagrams also make it really easy to see what adverbs do. Take a look at this diagram. What do you notice about the way the adverbs are diagrammed? 

Sentence diagram with adverbs

James ran very quickly.

Did you notice that the adverbs are diagrammed on slanted lines under the words that they are modifying?

Ran is a verb. Quickly is an adverb telling us more about the verb ran . Very is an adverb telling us more about the adverb quickly .

Doesn't the diagram make it easier to SEE what adverbs do?

6. Prepositions

Prepositions  are probably the most difficult part of speech to explain, but people generally have an easier time understanding them when they look at lots of examples. So...let's start with some examples of commonly used prepositions! 

in, for, of, off, if, until

The frog sat in the flower.

The baby cried for a long time.

I'm so convinced that memorizing some of the prepositions will be helpful to you that  I'll teach you a preposition song . 

Okay, now that we've looked at some examples, let's look at the definition of a preposition. 

Prepositions show the relationship between a noun or a pronoun and some other word in the rest of the sentence. 

Sentence diagrams will come to the rescue again to help us visualize what prepositions do. Think of prepositions as "noun hooks" or "noun bridges." In the diagram below, notice how the preposition down links the noun tree to the rest of the sentence.  

Sentence diagram of a preposition

The cat ran down the tree.

Since prepositions always function as "noun hooks," they'll always be accompanied by a noun. The preposition plus its noun is called a prepositional phrase .

If you find a word from the preposition list that's not a part of a prepositional phrase, it's not functioning as a preposition. (You remember that words can function as different parts of speech , right?)

7. Conjunctions

Conjunctions  join things together. They can join words or groups of words (phrases and clauses).

The hummingbird sat   and   waited .

The conjunction and is joining the words sat and waited .

Do you live  near the park or near the hospital ?

The conjunction or is joining the phrases near the park and near the hospital.  

The two conjunctions we just looked at ( and and or ) belong to a subcategory called coordinating conjunctions, but there are other subcategories of conjunctions as well. The other one that we use most often is  subordinating conjunctions . Subordinating conjunctions are a little trickier to learn because they involve a more complicated concept ( dependent adverb clauses ).

For now, just know that all conjunctions, no matter what type they are, connect things together. In fact, let's LOOK at how they do this by looking at a sentence diagram.

Here is a sentence diagram  showing how the coordinating conjunction  and  connects two clauses. 

english grammar parts of speech

She cooked, and he cleaned. 

8. Interjections

Interjections show excitement or emotion. 

Wow ! That jump was amazing!

Phew , the baby finally fell asleep.

They are different from the other parts of speech in that they're not grammatically related to the rest of the sentence, and the way that we diagram them reflects that. Look at how we diagram interjections :

Sentence diagram with interjection

Yes ! We won the lottery!

The interjection yes sit sits there on its own line floating above the rest of the sentence. This helps show that it's not grammatically related to the other words in the sentence. 

It's time to review what we covered on this page.

  • We can categorize the words that we use into groups based on their functions and features. We call these groups the parts of speech.
  • Many words can function as multiple parts of speech. You need to look at each word in the context of a sentence in order to say what part of speech it is. 
  • The eight parts of speech are nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections. 
  • You just learned about all of the parts of speech. Give yourself a high five! 

If you'd like to teach or learn grammar the easy way—with sentence diagrams—check out our  Get Smart Grammar Program .

It starts from the very beginning and teaches you grammar and sentence diagramming in easy, bite-size lessons. 

The Get Smart Grammar Program

Hello! I'm Elizabeth O'Brien, and my goal is to get you jazzed about grammar. 

This is original content from  https://www.english-grammar-revolution.com/parts-of-speech.html

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parts of speech

Parts of Speech

What is a Part of Speech?

We can categorize English words into 9 basic types called "parts of speech" or "word classes". It's quite important to recognize parts of speech. This helps you to analyze sentences and understand them. It also helps you to construct good sentences.

Parts of Speech Table

Parts of speech examples.

  • Parts of Speech Quiz

This is a summary of the 9 parts of speech*. You can find more detail if you click on each part of speech.

part of speech function or "job" example words example sentences
action or state (to) be, have, do, like, work, sing, can, must EnglishClub a website. I EnglishClub.
thing or person pen, dog, work, music, town, London, teacher, John This is my . He lives in my . We live in .
describes a noun good, big, red, well, interesting My dogs are . I like dogs.
limits or "determines" a noun a/an, the, 2, some, many I have dogs and rabbits.
describes a verb, adjective or adverb quickly, silently, well, badly, very, really My dog eats . When he is hungry, he eats quickly.
replaces a noun I, you, he, she, some Tara is Indian. is beautiful.
links a noun to another word to, at, after, on, but We went school Monday.
joins clauses or sentences or words and, but, when I like dogs I like cats. I like cats dogs. I like dogs I don't like cats.
short exclamation, sometimes inserted into a sentence oh!, ouch!, hi!, well ! That hurts! ! How are you? , I don't know.
  • lexical Verbs ( work, like, run )
  • auxiliary Verbs ( be, have, must )
  • Determiners may be treated as adjectives, instead of being a separate part of speech.

Here are some examples of sentences made with different English parts of speech:

verb
Stop!
noun verb
John works.
noun verb verb
John is working.
pronoun verb noun
She loves animals.
noun verb noun adverb
Tara speaks English well.
noun verb adjective noun
Tara speaks good English.
pronoun verb preposition determiner noun adverb
She ran to the station quickly.
pron. verb adj. noun conjunction pron. verb pron.
She likes big snakes but I hate them.

Here is a sentence that contains every part of speech:

interjection pron. conj. det. adj. noun verb prep. noun adverb
Well, she and my young John walk to school slowly.

Words with More Than One Job

Many words in English can have more than one job, or be more than one part of speech. For example, "work" can be a verb and a noun; "but" can be a conjunction and a preposition; "well" can be an adjective, an adverb and an interjection. In addition, many nouns can act as adjectives.

To analyze the part of speech, ask yourself: "What job is this word doing in this sentence?"

In the table below you can see a few examples. Of course, there are more, even for some of the words in the table. In fact, if you look in a good dictionary you will see that the word " but " has six jobs to do:

  • verb, noun, adverb, pronoun, preposition and conjunction!
word part of speech example
work noun My is easy.
verb I in London.
but conjunction John came Mary didn't come.
preposition Everyone came Mary.
well adjective Are you ?
adverb She speaks .
interjection ! That's expensive!
afternoon noun We ate in the .
noun acting as adjective We had tea.

People often ask

FAQ: frequently asked parts of speech questions

Applied Grammar by Gail Brubaker

the 8 Parts of Speech

Understanding the 8 Parts of Speech: Definitions and Examples

Are you trying to master the grammatical rules of English? If so, understanding the 8 parts of speech is crucial. But what exactly are the parts of speech? How many are there? And how do you know which words fall into each category? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this comprehensive guide, we will break down the definitions and examples of the 8 parts of speech, making it easier for you to navigate the intricacies of the English language.

English can be a challenging language to learn, but by understanding the parts of speech, you’ll gain a solid foundation for constructing sentences with clarity and precision. Whether you’re a student, a writer, or simply someone looking to improve your language skills, this article will provide you with a clear understanding of each part of speech. So, let’s immerse and explore the definitions and examples of the 8 parts of speech, empowering you to communicate effectively and confidently in English.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the 8 parts of speech is crucial for mastering English grammar.
  • The 8 parts of speech are: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections.
  • Nouns represent people, places, things, or ideas.
  • Pronouns replace nouns to avoid repetition.
  • Verbs describe actions or states of being.
  • Adjectives provide additional details about nouns.
  • Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.
  • Prepositions show relationships between words in a sentence.
  • Conjunctions join words, phrases, or clauses together.
  • Interjections express strong emotions or surprise.

What Are Parts of Speech?

When it comes to understanding the intricacies of English grammar, learning the different parts of speech is crucial. But what exactly are parts of speech? How many are there? And how do you determine which words belong to each part of speech? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide clear definitions and examples for each part of speech, helping you navigate the complexities of the English language.

Nouns are words that represent people, places, things, or ideas. They can be common or proper, singular or plural. Examples of nouns include “dog,” “New York City,” and “love.”

Pronouns are words used in place of nouns to avoid repetition. They can refer to individuals or groups. Examples of pronouns include “he,” “she,” “it,” and “they.”

Verbs are action words that describe what a subject does or the state of being. They can be in different tenses and forms. Examples of verbs include “run,” “jump,” and “is.”

Adjectives are words that describe or modify nouns, giving more details or information about them. They can describe qualities, size, shape, color, and more. Examples of adjectives include “beautiful,” “large,” and “blue.”

Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs, providing information on how, when, where, or to what extent. They often end in “-ly.” Examples of adverbs include “quickly,” “happily,” and “very.”

Prepositions

Prepositions show a relationship between a noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence. They indicate position, direction, time, or manner. Examples of prepositions include “in,” “on,” “at,” and “from.”

Conjunctions

Conjunctions join words, phrases, or clauses together. They can be coordinating or subordinating. Examples of conjunctions include “and,” “but,” “or,” and “because.”

Interjections

Interjections are short exclamations used to express emotions or surprise. They are often followed by exclamation marks. Examples of interjections include “Wow,” “Yay,” and “Ouch!”

Parts of Speech

Understanding the different parts of speech is crucial for building a strong foundation in English grammar. Each part of speech plays a unique role in the construction of sentences, providing clarity and meaning to our language. In this section, we will explore the definitions and examples of the eight parts of speech: noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection.

A noun is a word that identifies a person, place, thing, or idea. It can refer to both concrete objects, such as “book” or “dog,” and abstract concepts, such as “love” or “happiness.” Nouns are often referred to as “persons, places, or things,” but it is essential to recognize that they encompass much more than that. Here are some examples of nouns used in sentences:

  • The cat is sleeping on the couch.
  • I love to read a good book .
  • She has a beautiful voice .

Pronouns are words that are used to replace nouns in a sentence. They help avoid repetitive use of nouns and add fluency to our language. Personal pronouns, such as “he,” “she,” or “they,” refer to specific individuals or groups of people. Here are some examples of pronouns used in sentences:

  • She is going to the store.
  • We had an amazing time at the party.
  • Please give me the book.

Verbs are action words that express an action, occurrence, or state of being. They are the backbone of a sentence and provide information about what is happening. Verbs can be either transitive or intransitive, depending on whether they require an object to complete their meaning. Here are some examples of verbs used in sentences:

  • The dog ran in the park.
  • I love to swim in the ocean.
  • They are studying for the exam.

Adjectives are words that describe or modify nouns. They provide additional information about the nouns they accompany, such as their size, color, or quality. Adjectives help make our language more vivid and expressive. Here are some examples of adjectives used in sentences:

  • She has a beautiful smile.
  • The blue sky is clear today.
  • He is a talented musician.

Adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They provide information about how, when, where, or to what extent an action is performed. Adverbs enhance the meaning of a sentence and add precision to our language. Here are some examples of adverbs used in sentences:

  • He quickly finished his assignments.
  • She sings beautifully .
  • They went outside to play.

Preposition

Prepositions are words that indicate the relationship between a noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence. They often express location, direction, time, or manner. Prepositions are essential for understanding spatial and temporal relationships. Here are some examples of prepositions used in sentences:

  • The cat is under the table.
  • We walked through the park.
  • The book is on the shelf.

Conjunction

Conjunctions are words that connect words, phrases, or clauses within a sentence. They help establish relationships between different parts of a sentence, coordinating or subordinating their meaning. Conjunctions are essential for creating complex sentences. Here are some examples of conjunctions used in sentences:

  • I will go to the store, but I need to buy milk.
  • Because it was raining, we stayed indoors.
  • He likes both chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

Interjection

Interjections are words or phrases used to convey strong emotions or reactions. They are often standalone expressions and can add emphasis or express surprise, joy, or frustration. Interjections bring life and emotion to our language. Here are some examples of interjections used in sentences:

  • Wow , that’s an impressive performance!
  • Ouch , that hurt!
  • Alas , I lost my wallet.

Understanding and mastering the eight parts of speech will greatly enhance your language skills and enable you to effectively communicate in English. From nouns that identify people and things to verbs that express actions, each part of speech contributes to the overall structure and meaning of a sentence. Keep practicing and exploring the various functions of these parts of speech to become a confident English speaker and writer.

Examples of Each Part of Speech

Nouns play a crucial role in sentence construction as they represent people, places, things, or ideas. Here are some examples of nouns:

Pronouns, on the other hand, replace nouns to avoid repetition. Here are a few examples for better understanding:

  • If you leave now, only James and I will remain behind.
  • Their feet ached more than ours .

Verbs express actions, feelings, or states of being. Check out these verb examples:

  • We sang songs , danced all night , and by the morning had fallen in love .
  • Can you bring me something from the kitchen?

Adjectives add descriptions to nouns. Here are a few examples:

  • The tall building stood out in the city skyline.

Adverbs add meaning to verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. Take a look at these examples:

  • The car drove quickly down the street.
  • She performed very well in the competition.

Prepositions express the relationship between nouns, pronouns, and other words. Here are some examples:

  • The book is on the table.
  • The cat jumped over the fence.

Conjunctions connect words, phrases, or clauses within a sentence. Check out these examples:

  • He likes tea and coffee.
  • She is tired, but she is determined to finish the project.

Interjections convey strong emotions or sudden reactions. Here are a few examples:

  • Wow , what a beautiful sunset!
  • Oh no , I forgot to bring my umbrella.

Remember, understanding the different parts of speech and their functions is crucial in constructing meaningful sentences. Keep practicing and exploring the various examples to strengthen your language skills.

Now that you have a clear understanding of the eight parts of speech in English grammar, you are equipped with the knowledge to construct sentences with precision and clarity. By mastering the definitions and examples of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections, you can effectively communicate in English.

Each part of speech serves a unique purpose in sentence construction, providing meaning and structure to our language. Nouns name people, places, things, or ideas, while pronouns replace nouns to avoid repetition. Verbs express actions or states of being, while adjectives and adverbs provide descriptions and modify other words. Prepositions indicate relationships between words, conjunctions connect words or phrases, and interjections express strong emotions.

By practicing and exploring the functions of these parts of speech, you will become a confident English speaker and writer. Remember to apply this knowledge in your daily conversations and written communication to enhance your language skills.

Continue to refine your understanding and usage of the eight parts of speech, and watch as your language abilities flourish.

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COMMENTS

  1. Parts of Speech: Explanation and Examples

    The parts of speech are adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, determiners, interjections, nouns, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs. In a sentence, every word or phrase can be classified as one of the nine parts of speech depending on its function in the sentence.

  2. The 8 Parts of Speech

    The parts of speech are classified differently in different grammars, but most traditional grammars list eight parts of speech in English: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. Some modern grammars add others, such as determiners and articles.

  3. Parts of Speech: Complete Guide (With Examples and More) -

    What Are the Parts of Speech in English? The parts of speech refer to categories to which a word belongs. In English, there are eight of them : verbs , nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections.

  4. The 9 Parts of Speech: Definitions and Examples

    Every sentence you write or speak in English includes words that fall into some of the nine parts of speech. These include nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, articles/determiners, and interjections.

  5. Parts of Speech: A Super Simple Grammar Guide with Examples

    In the English language, there are around ten common parts of speech. These include nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, determiners, and articles.

  6. English Parts of Speech

    The eight parts of speech are nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections. You just learned about all of the parts of speech. Give yourself a high five!

  7. Parts of Speech

    Many words in English can have more than one job, or be more than one part of speech. For example, "work" can be a verb and a noun; "but" can be a conjunction and a preposition; "well" can be an adjective, an adverb and an interjection.

  8. Understanding the 8 Parts of Speech: Definitions and Examples

    The 8 parts of speech are: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. Nouns represent people, places, things, or ideas. Pronouns replace nouns to avoid repetition. Verbs describe actions or states of being. Adjectives provide additional details about nouns.