Parts of Speech in English

By | July 8, 2013

Part of speech are linguistic categories of words. They are sometimes called lexical categories, grammatical categories or word classes. Words are placed into a specific category depending on their function and in the English languages there are 8 parts of speech. As a second language learner it can be helpful to learn the parts of speech to give you a basic understanding of how the English language fits together.

Parts of SpeechThere are thousands of words in the English language and these words are the ‘building blocks’ of English. When we build a sentence, we use a combination of these different words to complete the sentence. Knowing the different parts of speech can help you to build correct sentences and moreover, it can also help you to understand more complicated parts of English grammar.

There are 8 different parts of speech in English and we’ll take a look at each of them one by one, in no particular order!

Verbs

A verb is an action word or describes a state of being. Examples of verbs include: go, walk, study, eat, drink, play. Verbs can take different forms, for example, walked, walking, walks.

Examples:

I walk to school.

She plays football.

I want to drink coffee.

Nouns

Nouns are names of things, people, places and animals. A noun can even be an idea or a feeling and it can function as either the object or the subject of a verb. For example, table, chair, New York, teacher.

Examples:

The table is next to the chair.

I’m going to visit New York.

The teacher teaches English.

Pronoun

A pronoun takes the place of a noun and again can either be the subject or object of the verb. For example, I, he, she, it, them, her.

Examples:

He is an English teacher.

It is on the table.

She is going to New York with her friends.

Read more about pronouns here.

Adjective

An adjective is used to modify or describe a noun. For example, tall, beautiful, delicious.

Examples:

He is tall.

The beautiful girl is talking on the telephone.

I ate some delicious pizza yesterday.

Adverb

An adverb modifies a verb, an adjective or another adverb. For example, quickly, silently, very, really.

Examples:

He eats quickly.

The student is studying silently.

The cat is very hungry.

The cat is reallyvery hungry.

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Preposition

A preposition connects a noun (or pronoun) to another word and shows the relationship between the 2. It is used to form a phrase that tells you about why, when, where and how. For example, in, on, at, for.

Examples:

He is going to New York for a holiday.

The book is in the bag.

The pen is on the table.

We’re going at 4 o’clock.

Conjunction

A conjunction joins clauses, sentences and words together. For example, or, if, but.

Examples:

I like to play football, but she likes to play tennis.

I would like to eat either pizza or pasta.

I will go home if she comes to get me.

8th Part of Speech

Either articles or interjections are listed as the 8th part of speech and linguists and teachers often disagree over which one is the 8th part of speech. In fact, both can be considered correct and it might be better to say that there are 9 parts of speech.

Articles

There are two types of articles. Indefinite articles include ‘a’ and ‘an’. In English the only definite article is ‘the’.

Examples:

Can I have an apple?

I would like to eat a banana.

I’m going to the market.

Interjection

Interjections show surprise or emotion and are often followed by an exclamation mark. For example, oh, ouch, ah.

Examples:

Ouch! That really hurt!

Oh, I hope she’s OK.

Ah, that’s delicious.

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