Anyone who wants to write properly in English needs to be able to form grammatically correct sentences. In order to do this, it is imperative that he learn the basics.
The first thing that needs to be learned is what are the parts of speech in English? We also need to learn how many of them there are and how to use them.
In the following paragraphs, I will do my best to answer these questions for you.
So, without further ado, let’s jump right in and learn all about “The Parts of Speech in English”.
There are nine parts of speech in the English language. If you think about it, it’s kind of awesome that all those thousands of words fit into just 9 categories.
The part of speech tells us how the word functions within the sentence both grammatically and in meaning. A word can function as more than one part of speech depending on the sentence. Understanding the parts of speech is fundamental in determining the correct definition of a word.
The 9 Parts of Speech
A noun is the name of a person, place, thing or idea. Tom, Calgary, door, courage are all examples of nouns. Sometimes nouns need articles before them but not always. Proper nouns such as the names of people or places are always capitalized while common nouns are not.
Nouns can be either singular or plural, abstract or concrete. Depending on the position of the noun within the sentence it can be the subject, a direct or indirect object, an object of a preposition or a subject complement
Let’s look at some examples.
- The boy likes to play with his friends.
In this sentence, the noun boy is the subject of the sentence. It answers the question “who” likes to play with his friends?
- The boy threw the ball to his friend.
In this sentence, we can see the nouns functioning in 3 different ways. The noun boy is the subject of the sentence. In other words, he is who is doing the action. The ball is the direct object because it answers the question what is being thrown. It receives the action of the verb. The noun friend is the indirect object because it’s the recipient of the direct object.
It’s important to note that only action verbs have direct objects.
- Karen sits behind Mary in English class.
In this sentence, Karen is a noun (the subject of the sentence) and behind is a preposition. The noun Mary is the object of the preposition.
A pronoun is a word that is used in place of a noun. Pronouns are divided into types.
- Personal pronouns refer to specific persons or things.
- Karen is a good girl.
- She is a good girl.
In these examples, she is the personal pronoun that takes the place of the noun, Karen.
- Possessive pronouns are the words that indicate ownership or possession.
- Karen has a dog.
- It’s her dog
In the first sentence, we are saying that the girl, Karen has a dog. In the second sentence, we have used the possessive pronoun her to show that she owns the dog.
- Reflexive pronouns are used to add emphasis.
- I moved the box myself.
Here the reflexive pronoun myself is used to emphasize that no one helped me move the box, that I completed the job alone.
- Relative pronouns are used to introduce a clause that talks about a noun in a sentence.
- Miss Michaels is the teacher who helped me the most.
In this example the word who is a relative pronoun that introduces the clause (A clause is the group of words, within the sentence, with its own subject and verb). Other examples of relative pronouns are which, what, whose, etc.
- Demonstrative pronouns identify, point to, or refer to a specific person, place or thing (noun).
Example: this, these, that, those
- That is a wonderful band.
Here the pronoun that is making reference to the noun band.
The verb is the action word in the sentence. In a sentence, we always have the main verb but sometimes we also have helping verbs. The main verb must always agree with the subject in number (singular or plural).
- The girl can dance.
In the example illustrated above, dance is the main verb and can is the helping or auxiliary verb.
An adjective is a word that modifies or describes a noun or pronoun. Usually, it answers the question what kind, which one, or how many.
- The tall, blond boy is very handsome.
In this sentence, we have two adjectives tall and blond. They talk about or describe the noun boy.
Like adjectives, adverbs are also modifiers but in this case, they describe or talk about a verb, an adjective or another adverb but never a noun. Adverbs usually answer the questions how, where, when, under what conditions, to what degree or why.
- He probably wanted help with his homework.
In the example sentence probably is the adverb. Some other common adverbs are almost, always, angrily, beautifully, bravely, carefully, closely, deeply, especially, extremely, gently, gracefully, innocently, joyfully, kindly, lovingly, openly, truthfully, tenderly and many more.
A preposition is a word that is placed before a noun or pronoun and it shows the relationship between the noun or pronoun, and some other word in the sentence.
- Mike is taking the bus to school.
The word to is the preposition in the sentence above.
There are many different types of prepositions in the English language.
- Simple prepositions are used in simple sentences.
Examples: on, at, to, from, on, with, over, under, etc.
He is going to school.
- Compound prepositions are used to join two phrases, pronoun or nouns.
Examples: about, above, inside, between, before, beneath, etc.
I want to talk about your friend Robert.
- Double prepositions are made up of two prepositions put together.
Examples: into, onto, because of, outside of, inside of, etc.
Tom lost the baseball game because of the dog that got in the way.
- Participle prepositions are actually participles that act as prepositions. Just to refresh our memories, participles are adjectives or adverbs which are formed by adding ed or ing to the infinitive verb.
Examples: assuming, considering, regarding, etc.
I get sick very often during the winter months.
- Phrase prepositions are groups of words made up of prepositions which indicate the relationship between elements in the sentence.
Examples: in spite of, in front of, in order to, with reference to, in addition to, etc.
She works hard in order to keep her job.
- Prepositions of place are used to show where something is located.
Examples: under, over, near, between, beside, behind, etc.
My house is near Lake Ontario.
- Prepositions of time are used to show the time when the action takes place.
Examples: in, on, at
Roy’s birthday is in April.
- Prepositions of direction are used to show direction.
Example: into, to, over, under, etc.
She is driving her car under the bridge.
A conjunction is a word that joins words, phrases, and clauses together and shows the relation between them.
There are 3 main types of conjunctions we will talk about.
- Coordinating conjunctions are used to link 2 phrases of equal importance together. Both phrases are complete.
Examples: for, and, nor, but, or, yet and soon
Jessy does not want to eat or to drink.
In the sample sentence, we are joining 2 complete ideas into one sentence. Jessy does not want to eat. Jessy does not want to drink.
- Subordinating conjunctions are used to join an independent, complete clause to a dependent one. The dependent clause can come before or after the independent clause but the subordinating conjunction always comes before the dependent clause.
Examples: since, because, although, once, until, etc.
The children love recess because they can play with their ball.
- Correlative conjunctions are pairs of conjunctions used in the same sentence to join words and phrases together.
Examples: either/or, neither/nor, not only/but, whether/or, etc.
She lost both her pen and her pencil.
An article is a word used to modify a noun. There are 2 types of articles, definite and indefinite.
- A definite article is used when referring to a specific noun. There is one definite article: “the”.
- Indefinite articles are used when referring to a non-specific noun. There are two indefinite articles. They are “a” and “an”.
- Give me the blue pen.
- I want a pencil.
- She wants an apple.
An interjection is a little word used to show emotion and it’s usually followed by an exclamation mark.
Examples: Oh!, Wow!, Oh my, Hey!, etc.
Wow!, that’s a very beautiful car.
There you have it. The 9 parts of speech.
Now you are equipped with the basics to be able to form proper sentences in English and write great essays and awesome stories.
So, don’t waste time, jump in and start writing using your new found knowledge about the parts of speech in English.
If you have any questions or if there is anything you wish to add, feel free to do so in the comments bellow and I will get back to you real soon.
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