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The Parts of Speech in English

One way of studying the basic sentence structure in English is to understand the word classes, which are called the Parts of Speech in English.

The 8 parts of speech in English are:

  • Nouns = Words that name (a person, animal, place, thing or abstract idea
  • Pronouns = Words that replace nouns or other pronouns
  • Verbs =Words that express a state of being or an action
  • Adjectives = Words that describe a (pro)noun (by describing, identifying or quantifying)
  • Adverbs= Words that modify a verb/adj./adv. (by telling how(much), when, where)
  • Prepositions= Words that link a noun or pronoun to the rest of the sentence
  • Conjunctions = Words that link words, clauses or phrases
  • Interjections = Words that express emotions

Some textbooks include Articles as a part of speech. These are determiners that precede nouns. To know for sure what part of speech a word is, you need to look not only at that word on its own, but also at its meaning, position and use in a sentence.

The Parts of Speech Poem

An ARTICLE, a, an and the.

NOUN’s the name of anything,
As school or garden, hoop or string.

ADJECTIVES tell the kind of noun,
As great, small, pretty, white or brown.

Instead of nouns the PRONOUNS stand,
John’s head, his face, my arm, your hand.

VERBS tell of something being done,
To read, write, count, sing, jump or run.

How things are done, the ADVERBS tell,
As slowly, quickly, ill or well.

A PREPOSITION stands before
A noun as in or through a door.

CONJUNCTIONS join the nouns together,
As men and children, wind and weather.

The INTERJECTION shows surprise,
As oh, how pretty! Ah, how wise!

The whole are called ‘nine parts of speech’,
Which reading, writing, speaking teach.

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