Parts of speech are like Legos. Instead of being made into houses or spaceships, they’re the building blocks we use to form written and spoken language.
Every word you speak or write is a part of speech. In the English language, there are 8 parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and articles (determiners). These parts of speech represent categories of words according to their grammatical function.
Having a basic understanding of the parts of speech in the English language gives you a specific terminology and classification system to talk about language. It can help you correctly punctuate a sentence, capitalize the right words, and even understand how to form a complete sentence to avoid grammatical errors.
|Part Of Speech
|Part Of Speech Noun
|Function is a person or thing.
|Example Vocabulary Birthday, cake, Paris, flat
|Example Sentences Today is my birthday. I like cake. I have a flat; It's in Paris.
|Part Of Speech Pronoun
|Function is a noun substitute.
|Example Vocabulary I, you, she, her, him, some, and them.
|Example Sentences Susan is my neighbor; She is charming.
|Part Of Speech Adjective
|Function describes the noun in a sentence.
|Example Vocabulary Happy, small, cozy, hungry, and warm.
|Example Sentences She lives in a small cottage. Her home is cozy and warm.
|Part Of Speech Verb
|Function is an action word or state of being.
|Example Vocabulary Run, jump, sleep, can, do, (to) be, or like
|Example Sentences The teacher is happy; she likes her students.
|Part Of Speech Adverb
|Function describes a verb, adverb, or adjective.
|Example Vocabulary Merrily, slowly, softly, or quickly
|Example Sentences The girl spoke softly. She walked away slowly.
|Part Of Speech Preposition
|Function connects a noun or pronoun to another word. Shows the direction, location, or movement.
|Example Vocabulary In, on, at, to, after.
|Example Sentences We left by bus in the morning. Conjunction,"connects words, sentences, or clauses.
|Part Of Speech Article
|Function shows whether a specific identity is known or unknown.
|Example Vocabulary A, an, and the.
|Example Sentences A man called today. The cat is on the table; get it off!
Still with us? Now, we will break down each of these English grammar categories and give some examples.
Nouns are words that name a person, place, thing, or idea. They can be further classified into different types of nouns.
There are some nouns we can count and others we cannot. Take a look at this table.
|Type Of Noun
|Type Of Noun Proper Nouns
|Definition Name a specific person, place, or thing. Always start with a capital letter.
|Examples Egypt, Paul, Eiffel Tower, Chicago
|Type Of Noun Common Nouns
|Definition Don’t name a specific person, place, or thing. Don’t start with a capital letter unless they are placed at the beginning of a sentence.
|Examples dog, houses, sleep, homes, cup
|Type Of Noun
|Type Of Noun Concrete Nouns
|Definition Identify material things.
|Examples apple, boy, clock, table, window
|Type Of Noun Abstract Nouns
|Definition Express a characteristic or idea.
|Examples happiness, tranquility, war, danger, friendship
|Singular Noun Examples
|Plural Noun Examples
|Rule For most common nouns…
|Singular Noun Examples Chair
|Plural Noun Examples Chairs
|Rule For nouns that end in -ch, -s, -ch, or x…
|Singular Noun Examples Teach
|Plural Noun Examples Teaches
|Rule For nouns ending with -y and a vowel…
|Singular Noun Examples Toy
|Plural Noun Examples Toys
|Rule For nouns ending with -y and a consonant…
|Add Remove -y and add -ies
|Singular Noun Examples Lady
|Plural Noun Examples Ladies
|Rule For nouns ending in -o and a vowel…
|Add -es or -s
|Singular Noun Examples Tomato
|Plural Noun Examples Tomatoes
|Rule For nouns ending in -f or -fe…
|Add Remove -fe or -f and add -v and -es
|Singular Noun Examples Leaf
|Plural Noun Examples Leaves
|Rule For nouns ending in o- and consonant…
|Singular Noun Examples Echo
|Plural Noun Examples Echoes
Exceptions To The Rule
Some nouns are irregular, and it’s a case of learning their plural form as they don’t always follow specific rules. Here are some examples:
|Singular Irregular Noun
|Singular Irregular Noun Man
|Plural Form Men
|Singular Irregular Noun Woman
|Plural Form Women
|Singular Irregular Noun Tooth
|Plural Form Teeth
|Singular Irregular Noun Child
|Plural Form Children
|Singular Irregular Noun Person
|Plural Form People
|Singular Irregular Noun Buffalo
|Plural Form Buffalo
|Uncountable of Mass Nouns
|Countable and Uncountable Nouns
|Countable Nouns Singular and Plural
|Uncountable of Mass Nouns Cannot be pluralized
|Countable and Uncountable Nouns Depends on the context of the sentence
|Countable Nouns Table / Tables
|Uncountable of Mass Nouns Hair
|Countable and Uncountable Nouns Chicken / A chicken
|Countable Nouns Chair / Chairs
|Uncountable of Mass Nouns Air
|Countable and Uncountable Nouns Coffee / Two coffees
|Countable Nouns Dog / Dogs
|Uncountable of Mass Nouns Information
|Countable and Uncountable Nouns Paper / Sheet of paper
|Countable Nouns Quantifiers: some, many, a few, a lot, numbers
|Uncountable of Mass Nouns Quantifiers: some, any, a piece, a lot of, much, a little
|Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Here are examples of possessive nouns:
Collective nouns refer to a group or collection of things, people, or animals. Such as,
A noun phrase is two or more words that function as a noun in a sentence. It also includes modifiers that can come before or after the noun.
Here are examples of noun phrases:
If you want to know where to find nouns in a sentence, look for the subject or a direct object, and they will stand right out. For example:
(Mary = Subject) (Chocolate cake, and ice cream = direct objects)
This is an easy way to identify nouns in a sentence.
Pronouns are words used in the place of a noun or noun phrase. They can be further classified into different types of pronouns, such as personal, reflexive, and possessive.
|Subject 1st Person Singular
|Person Pronoun I
|Examples I am walking.
|Subject 2nd Person Singular
|Person Pronoun You
|Examples You are walking.
|Subject 3rd Person Singular
|Person Pronoun She, He, and It
|Examples It is walking.
|Subject 1st Person Plural
|Person Pronoun We
|Examples We are walking.
|Subject 2nd Person Plural
|Person Pronoun You (all)
|Examples You are walking.
|Subject 3rd Person Plural
|Person Pronoun They
|Examples They are walking.
Some examples of reflexive pronouns are myself, yourself, herself, and itself.
Here are examples of reflexive pronouns in sentences:
Reflexive pronouns can also be used for emphasis, as in this sentence:
Some examples of possessive pronouns are my, mine, your, yours, his, hers, its, ours, and theirs. We use these words when we want to express possession. Such as,
Mine, yours, and his are examples of the independent form of possessive pronouns, and when showing possession, these pronouns never need an apostrophe.
Adjectives are words that describe nouns or pronouns. They make the meaning more definite. When we want to talk about what kind of a house we have, we can use adjectives to describe it, such as big, red, or lovely.
We can use adjectives to precede the word it modifies, like this;
Or we can use adjectives following the word they modify, like this;
There are many types of adjectives, one being possessive. The seven possessive adjectives are my, your, his, her, its, our, and their. These words modify a noun or pronoun and show possession. Such as,
Verbs are words that express an action or a state of being. All verbs help to make a complete statement. Action verbs express a physical action, for example:
Other verbs express a mental action, for example:
These can also be called lexical verbs.
Examples of auxiliary verbs are am, are, is, has, can, may, will be, and might have.
When we use more than one verb when writing or speaking to express an action or state of being, it’s a verbal phrase consisting of the main verb, lexical verb, and one or more auxiliary verbs.
Some examples of verbal phrases:
Here are examples of verbal phrases used in a sentence.
Adverbs are used to describe an adjective, verb, or even another adverb. They can express how something is done, as in splendidly or poorly.
Here are some examples of adverbs in use:
The adverb extremely modifies the adjective fast, expressing just how rapid the runner was.
The adverb hardly modifies the verb see, expressing how much is visible, which in this case is not much at all.
The adverb surprisingly modifies the adverb poorly, expressing the surprise at how badly the car has been cleaned.
They are used to show relationships between words, such as nouns or pronouns, with other words in the sentence. They can indicate spatial or time relationships. Some common prepositions are about, at, before, behind, but, in, off, on, to, and with.
Here are some examples of common prepositions in sentences:
Prepositions are followed by objects of prepositions, a noun, or a noun phrase that follows to give it meaning.
Groups of words can also act as prepositions together, such as in spite of.
Conjunctions link words or groups of words together. We often use them to create complex sentences. There are three types of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and subordinating conjunctions.
Examples of coordinating conjunctions are and, but, or, nor, for, so, and yet. Such as:
Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs. Some examples are;
Here is an example of the conjunctions above in use:
We use subordinating conjunctions to begin subordinate clauses or sentences.
Some examples of common subordinating conjunctions are after, before, then, when, provided, unless, so that, and while. Such as,
There are three articles in the English language: a, an, and the. Articles can indicate whether a specific identity is known or not.
A and an are called indefinite articles and refer to a general group. Such as,
The is a definite article and refers to a specific thing or person. Such as,
Getting these right to know if we’re talking about a specific item, person, or thing, in general, is important.
Once you get the hang of it, identifying the various parts of speech in a sentence will be second nature, like riding a bike. And just think, it can help you craft stronger sentences!