The 8 parts of speech in the English language are as follows: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, and interjections. The term “part of speech” refers to the grammatical function of a word in a sentence. In addition, every word is a part of speech in the English Language. Each part of speech has a specific function and purpose. To make clear, concise sentences, it is important to understand how each part of speech functions.
The 8 Parts of Speech: You Need to Know
Nouns are the names of people, places, and things. They are the biggest part of speech and can be either proper or common. Proper nouns name specific people, places, or things and are always capitalized. Common nouns are everything else. They can be countable or uncountable. Countable nouns have a definite number (1, 2, and 3) while uncountable nouns do not have a definite number (singular/plural). Uncountables are things that cannot be counted because they don’t have any size or shape – for example, “air” or “water”.
Here are some examples of Nouns:
- persons: John, doctor, nurse…
- things: book, table, chair…
- Places: library, hospital, New York…
Pronouns are words that stand in for nouns or are used in place of nouns. They can be used to avoid repetition and make your writing more concise. For example, “John is going grocery shopping.” If the writer uses a pronoun instead of repeating “John” (or some other noun), it will have fewer syllables and be easier to read.
Pronouns stand in for nouns and can be personal (I, me, you), reflexive (myself, yourself), indefinite (everyone, somebody), demonstrative (this, that), relative (who, which), or interrogative (who, what).
Adjectives are words that describe or modify nouns or pronouns. They can be single words such as “green” or “slow.” It can also be a phrase, such as “in the dark” or “of great value.” They tell us something about the nouns they modify. Adjectives can be used to describe people, places, things, and ideas. For example:
- I’m a shy person. (The adjective “shy” describes my personality.)
- The house was smaller than I had expected it would be when we first moved in there four years ago; it’s been nice having this space all to ourselves again though! (The adjective “smaller” describes what kind of space I live in—it’s smaller than an average house would be.)
Verbs are the words that describe or express an action or state of being. For example, the verb “to run” means “to move.” A sentence with a simple verb would be: “The ball ran away.”
There are three main types of verbs: action verbs, linking verbs, and helping verbs. Action verbs are the most common type of verb. They express physical or mental actions. Linking verbs connect the subject of a sentence to a noun or adjective that describes the subject. Helping verbs help to make a verb tense or show ability or possibility.
Adverbs modify verbs and adjectives, other adverbs, determiners, noun phrases, clauses, or sentences. They typically express manner, place, time, frequency, degree, level of certainty, etc., answering questions such as “how?”, “when?”, “where?”, “how much?” or “how often?”.
- Adverbs ending in ly: ly are used before an adjective or adverb that describes a state or quality; these include “quietly” (in a whisper), and “quickly” (immediately).
- Adverbs can be used either before or after the verb they modify. For example, one can say “He slowly drank his coffee” or “He drank his coffee slowly.”
Prepositions are words that show the relationship of a noun or pronoun to another word in the sentence. For example, the preposition “in” can be used to describe the location (e.g., “in the room”), time (e.g., “in the morning”), or direction (e.g., “go in the door”). They are usually short, simple words, and they’re followed by a noun or pronoun. For example:
- In the park = in
- At school = at
- On 8:00 pm = on
Conjunctions are words that join two or more words, phrases, or clauses. The most common conjunctions are the coordinating conjunctions (and, or, but…), however, there are many more that can be used to join clauses together. Examples include:
- “and” (to show cause-and-effect)
- “or” (to show contrast)
- “but” (to show addition)
Conjunctions are used to create compound sentences and coordinate clauses.
Interjections are words used to show emotion, usually followed by a few letters. They’re not used in formal writing, but they can be useful for showing how you feel during a conversation. For example: “Oh no!” I yelled as the book fell from my hands and hit the floor with a loud thud.
The 8 Parts Of Speech – Summary
Here is a quick overview of the 8 parts of the speech:
- Nouns are words that name a person or place (e.g. “the dog”)
- Pronouns substitute for nouns in sentences (e.g., he/him). They can be singular or plural depending on whether they refer to one person or more than one person at once (e.g., he is my friend).
- Adjectives describe or modify nouns or pronouns by adding qualities such as size/shape/color/number etcetera; they also indicate the position within an argument structure by describing how something fits into another part of speech’s function sentence (“He is walking away from me”).
- Verbs show action or state of being; (run, sleep, move, etc.)
- adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs by changing meaning slightly;
- Prepositions express the relation of nouns with other words.
- conjunctions join two grammatical elements together (“She doesn’t like coffee, nor does she like tea.”).
- Interjections show our sudden feelings, emotions, sentiments, etc.