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Parts of Speech


Words can be divided into 9 categories according to their use. These categories are called "parts of speech" or "word classes". Knowing all the parts of speech is important to construct grammatically correct sentences. In English, the basic parts of speech are noun, pronoun, adjective, determiner, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction and interjection. In some sources, determiners are not a separate part of speech because they are classed as adjectives.

Parts of Speech Table

The table below shows a summary of the English parts of speech.

Part of speech
Function
Examples
Example sentences
Noun
refers to a person or thing
doctor, teacher, Italy, school, coffee, Ann
Ann is a teacher. She goes to school.
Pronoun
is used instead of a noun
you, he, she, it, mine, this
I’d asked Peter but he didn’t come.
Adjective
describes a noun or pronoun
big, deep, happy, red
The water is deep here. He swam in deep water.
Determiner
introduce a noun
a, the, my, 2, every, many
My two best friends are Brian and Earl.
Verb
expresses an action or state
go, know, learn, dance, (to) be
Do you know English? I’m learning.
Adverb
describes a noun, adjective or another adverb
very, too, quickly, kindly, mainly
He runs very quickly.
He’s too young.
Proposition
connects a noun to another word
at, in, on, to, by,
She goes to work by bus.
Conjunction
connects words, phrases or sentences
and, but, or
I learn English and French.
Interjection
a short word, sound or phrase that expresses an emotion
hey!, ah!, ouch!
ow!, hi!
Oh, that’s so sweet! Hi, there!

Parts of Speech Examples

  • Enjoy! [v]
  • Anna talks. [n.] [v.]
  • Ouch! That hurts. [interj] [pron.] [v.]
  • Joe is crying. [n.] [v.] [v.]
  • I love music. [pron.] [v.] [n.]
  • Ben often drinks beer. [n.] [adv.] [v.] [n.]
  • They have two small children. [pron.] [v.] [determ.] [adj.] [n.]
  • We listened carefully to the instructions. [pron.] [v.] [adv.] [prep.] [determ.] [n.]
  • John tried hard but he failed his exam. [n.] [v.] [adv.] [conj.] [pron.] [v.] [adv.] [n.]

Words used as different parts of speech

Some words can be used as more than one part of speech. For example, the word drink can be a noun in one sentence and a verb in another sentence. 
  • Can I have a drink? [n.]
  • What would you like to drink[v.]
To recognize the part of speech in a particular sentence, you have to look at how the word functions in meaning.

Look at the following examples.

The word brick can be a noun and an adjective.
  • The church is built of brick[n.]
  • The school is surrounded by a brick wall. [adj.]
The word calm can be an adjective, a noun, and a verb.
  • I tried to remain calm[adj.]
  • It is the calm before the storm[n.]
  • I need some tea to calm my nerves. [v.]
The word like serves as six parts of speech. They are noun, adjective, verb, adverb, preposition and conjunction.
  • I like VocabularyPage. [v.]
  • We have a lot of likes on Facebook. [n.]
  • She looks like her sister.  [prep.]

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