Parts of speech

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There are thousands of words in any language. But not all words have the same job. For example, some words express "action". Other words express a "thing". Other words "join" one word to another word. These are the "building blocks" of the language. Think of them like the parts of a house. When we want to build a house, we use concrete to make the foundations or base. We use bricks to make the walls. We use window frames to make the windows, and door frames to make the doorways. And we use cement to join them all together. Each part of the house has its own job. And when we want to build a sentence, we use the different types of word. Each type of word has its own job.

We can categorize English words into 8 basic types or classes. These classes are called "parts of speech".

Its quite important to recognize parts of speech. This helps you to analyze sentences and understand them. It also helps you to construct good sentences.

In this lesson, we have an overview of the eight parts of speech, followed by a quiz to check your understanding:

Parts of Speech Table

This is a summary of the 8 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
Verb action or state (to) be, have, do, like, work, sing, can, must EnglishClub.com is a web site. I like EnglishClub.com.
Noun thing or person pen, dog, work, music, town, London, teacher, John This is my dog. He lives in my house. We live in London.
Adjective describes a noun a/an, the, 69, some, good, big, red, well, interesting My dog is big. I like big dogs.
Adverb describes a verb, adjective or adverb quickly, silently, well, badly, very, really My dog eats quickly. When he is very hungry, he eats really quickly.
Pronoun replaces a noun I, you, he, she, some Tara is Indian. She is beautiful.
Preposition links a noun to another word to, at, after, on, but We went to school on Monday.
Conjunction joins clauses or sentences or words and, but, when I like dogs and I like cats. I like cats and dogs. I like dogs but I dont like cats.
Interjection short exclamation, sometimes inserted into a sentence oh!, ouch!, hi!, well Ouch! That hurts! Hi! How are you? Well, I dont know.

* Some grammar sources categorize English into 9 or 10 parts of speech. At EnglishClub.com, we use the traditional categorization of 8 parts of speech. Examples of other categorizations are:

  • Verbs may be treated as two different parts of speech:
    • Lexical Verbs (work, like, run)
    • Auxiliary Verbs (be, have, must)
  • Determiners may be treated as a separate part of speech, instead of being categorized under Adjectives

 

Parts of Speech Examples

Here are some 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 adjective noun
Animals like kind people.

 

noun verb noun adverb
Tara speaks English well.
 
noun verb adjective noun
Tara speaks good English.

 

pronoun verb preposition adjective 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. adj. noun verb prep. noun adverb
Well, she and young John walk to school slowly.

 

 

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