Parts of Speech
Introduction to Parts of Speech
In English grammar, the different elements that combine to make a sentence Opens in new window comes in different parts. These elements, altogether, are what is called word–classes, commonly known as Parts of Speech.
Parts of Speech is meant the different nature of all the words which compose a sentence; or every word that add up what we may either say or write.
In English, Parts of Speech are divided into Eight (8) Categories, they include:
- nounsOpens in new window,
- verbsOpens in new window,
- adjectivesOpens in new window,
- adverbsOpens in new window,
- pronounsOpens in new window,
- conjunctionsOpens in new window,
- prepositionsOpens in new window and
- interjectionsOpens in new window.
However, some grammarians tend to include the determinerOpens in new window into this group of word-classes. Invariably, English has 9 Parts of Speech.
Mastering parts of speech will not only make you recognize the different parts of speech from which sentences are formed, it would also help you understand basic sentence structure in English language.
We’ll spend the remainder of this study delving briefly into each of the nine parts of speech.
A nounOpens in new window is a naming word that identifies a person, place, thing, or idea.Examples include:
- John, Mary, London, Memphis, Thoughtlessness, box, lion, freedom, etc.
Nouns can function in different roles within a sentenceOpens in new window. They can function as subjectOpens in new window, direct objectOpens in new window, indirect objectOpens in new window, subject complementOpens in new window, or object of a prepositionOpens in new window.
See NOUNOpens in new window to learn more.
Pronouns are words such as I, you, he, she, it, we, they, used in place of a noun; so as not to repeat the noun.For example:
- John borrowed a book, he borrowed it from Mary.
A pronoun is usually substituted for a specific noun, known as the antecedentOpens in new window. In the sentence above, the antecedent for the pronoun he is John, and the antecedent for it is book.
Pronouns are further defined by type:
- Personal pronouns Opens in new window refer to specific persons or things.
- Possessive pronouns Opens in new window indicate ownership.
- Reflexive pronouns Opens in new window are used to emphasize another pronoun or noun.
- Relative pronouns Opens in new window introduce a subordinate clause.
- Demonstrative pronouns Opens in new window identify, point to, or refer to nouns Opens in new window.
See PRONOUNOpens in new window to learn more.
An adjectiveOpens in new window is a word that describes a noun or pronoun.For example:
- Mary told a secret gossip to John.
In the example above, the adjective secret gives us idea of what kind of gossip Mary told John.
Some examples of adjectives include: beautiful, active, brave, brilliant, intelligent, yellow, white, honest, happy, glorious, etc.
See ADJECTIVE Opens in new windowto learn more!
A verbOpens in new window is a word which expresses action or state of being ascribed to the subject of a sentence.For example:
- John ran to school (run is an action.)
- John is a student. (is, marked the noun John as a state of being [in this case a student])
Most verbs are dependent, and they rely on object to make a complete sense, take for example, the sentence below:
- “The boy bought ___” (if we may ask, bought what?)
- The boy bought chocolates.
With the object “chocolates” provided, the sentence now makes sense. Dependent verbs as such are known as Transitive verbsOpens in new window.
Transitive Verbs usually transfer their action to objects—which may be persons or things—to make a complete sense.
See VERBOpens in new window to learn more!
5. AdverbExamples include:
- Andy speaks quickly.
(modifying the verb “speaks”)
- He spoke so quick
(modifying the adjective “quick”)
- He spoke very quickly.
(modifying the adverb “quickly”)
Adverbs describe or modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb, but never a noun.
Adverbs usually tell when, where, why, how or to what manner or degree something happened.
Unlike adjectives, adverbs would almost always appear anywhere in a sentence.
See ADVERBOpens in new window to learn more!
6. PrepositionFor Example:
- From the beginning of the term, Gretchen was certain she would make good grades.
The prepositions in this sentence are bolded; and the objects of preposition are underlined.
Prepositional phrasesOpens in new window are groups of words beginning with a preposition and generally ending with a noun.
The noun that follows a preposition is the object of the prepositionOpens in new window, as underlined in the example above.
See PREPOSITIONOpens in new window to learn more!
ConjunctionsOpens in new window are words such as and, but, if, e.t.c., used to connect clausesOpens in new window, phrasesOpens in new window, or sentences or to coordinate words in the same clause or sentenceOpens in new window.
There are three types of conjunctions (as shown below) that signify different relationships between the joined elements.
- Coordinating conjunction Opens in new window link elements of equal value.
- Correlative conjunctions Opens in new window are connecting words used in pairs to establish a specific relationship between elements of equal value.
- Subordinating conjunction Opens in new window indicate that one element is of lesser value (subordinate) to another element.
See CONJUNCTION Opens in new windowto learn more!
InterjectionOpens in new window is a word (or sometimes words) that expresses a spontaneous feeling or some reaction of our mind stimulated by sudden situations.For Example:
- Hurrah!, Hip! Hip! Hurrah! (joyful exclamation)
- Oh!, ah!, alas! (Grief or sorrowful exclamation)
Although only used in informal context, interjection helps speakers of English language to express certain feelings or emotions such as excitement, shock, disappointment or any other form of emotional expression.
See INTERJECTIONOpens in new window to learn more!
Determiners are words that precede head nouns in a noun phrase. They express important characteristics about head nouns, such as definiteness vs. indefiniteness, possession, quantity and the kind of reference of the noun phrase.
Grammarians identify several kinds of determinersOpens in new window. Many of these are listed in 1) through 10) along with some examples.
- Articles (a/an, the)
- 1a) He met a woman.
- 1b) The woman got out of an airplane.
See more of ArticlesOpens in new window
- Demonstrative determiners (this/that, these/those)
- 2a) I want that book not this one.
- 2b) These sweaters are more expensive than those sweaters over there.
- Possessive determiners (my, his/her, our, your, its, their)
- 3a) That’s her book.
- 3b) This is my book over there.
- Nouns as possessive determiners (John’s, Liam’s)
- 4) Kim’s car is older than Jessica’s car.
- Quantifiers (all, any, few, many)
- 5a) She has all the money.
- 5b) There are many ways to do it.
- Partitives (glass of, loaf of, bit of, acre of)
- 6) He bought a loaf of bread.
- Cardinal numbers (one, two, three)
- 7) She bought three hats.
- Ordinal numbers (first, second, next, last)
- 8) That is the second time he has done that.
- Multipliers (double, twice, three times)
- 9) She bought double the amount we need.
- Fractions (three-fourths, two-fifths)
See DETERMINERSOpens in new window to learn more!