Ask a native speaker what a part of speech in English is and they may not know the answer. A part of speech is something that native speakers learn very early in school to explain the parts of a sentence. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget the parts of speech- we don’t talk about them everyday. However, they’re all necessary (needed) to build (make) sentences.
There are eight parts of speech in English. Every word in the English language is one of these parts of speech.
Are you learning English for the first time? Do you need a good review of the basic English parts of speech? Then look no further…because this week is all about the 8 parts of speech!
A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea. There are a few different kinds of nouns, but if you can name it, such as a dog, a supermarket, the Declaration of Independence, or Erin (that’s me!), it’s a noun.
Nouns have a few different “jobs” (functions, roles) in a sentence. They can be: subjects, direct objects, indirect objects, predicate nouns, and objects of prepositions.
- Crystal walked through the city.
- My cat jumped onto the bed.
- I watched the airplane fly in the sky.
A pronoun can take the place of (replace, substitute, stand in for) nouns in a sentence, and therefore, can do anything a noun can do.
Here are some examples of pronouns:
- myself (also herself, himself, themselves, etc.)
- I walked through the city.
- It jumped onto the bed.
- We saw them on Saturday.
- He saw her walk through the door.
A verb is simply a word that shows an action or a state of being. The main verbs in a sentence show actions or states of being.
- Harry swam to shore. (action)
- She is the Chancellor of Germany. (state of being)
There are also helping verbs. Helping verbs help the main verbs in a sentence. They help the main verbs form verb phrases and cannot stand alone in a sentence.
- She will pass the test on Friday.
- He has been president before.
- You will be going to piano every week.
In these cases, you need both the verbs for the sentence to make sense, and the first verb is the helping verb.
Adjectives help to describe (define better) nouns and pronouns. If you ask the questions Which one?, What kind?, How many?, and Whose?, the answer is an adjective.
- The handsome teacher wrote on the board.
- The dog’s eyes are blue.
- I can’t play any difficult sports anymore.
- The small red car sped away.
Check out our blog for more information on the order of adjectives in a sentence!
Adverbs also help to describe a few parts of speech. They help describe verbs, adjectives, and even other adverbs.
Adverbs answer the questions How?, When?, Where?, Why?, and To what extent?. You can usually (normally) see an adverb in a sentence because it ends in -ly or -y.
- He hugged her extremely tightly.
- The baby hedgehog is very cute.
- The sun was shining very brightly this morning.
- The students spoke quietly.
A preposition is one of the most common parts of speech that shows us where something is, as well as the relationship (connection) between a noun and another word in a sentence. Prepositions are always words of location such as in, on, at, inside, behind, over, under, etc., and they are in prepositional phrases in a sentence.
- The dog is sleeping in the living room on the couch.
- I was sitting on the bridge outside the city.
- Are you going inside?
For more information on prepositions, check out this blog on prepositional phrases.
Conjunctions join two or more words, phrases, or clauses within a sentence. They are words such as and, or, and but.
- She closed the book and smiled.
- I want to come, but I have plans.
- He didn’t know whether to ask Tim or Jane.
Interjections in a sentence help to show emotion. They’re not grammatically related to (connected, together with) any other part of the sentence and can stand alone with an exclamation mark after them.
Interjections are words like wow, congratulations, hey, whoa, yikes, etc.
- Wow! Great shot!
- Congratulations on your test results!
- Yikes! That was close.
Do you have any easy ways to remember your parts of speech? Do you think you could correctly analyze a sentence? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!
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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and really enjoyed re-learning her parts of speech! How many did you already know? Do you think you could analyze a sentence?