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Eight Parts of Speech
verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections

     The eight basic parts of speech are simple. They are verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. All English words fit into one of these grammatical categories. Many English words function as more than one part of speech. Take the word fly for example. When you fly in a plane, it is a verb; when you swat a fly, it is a noun; and when you wear fly shades, it is a slang adjective. English can be confusing because words can mean more than one thing, but if you know your eight parts of speech, you will avoid confusion.

     Verbs are words used to express action, condition, or a state of being. They are used in speech to move the meanings of sentences along. An action verb expresses an action. Words such as throw, create, and draw express physical action. Mental actions can be expressed by words such as believe, desire, and visualize. Verbs such as be and feel are used to show states of being. Helping verbs, or auxiliary verbs, are used to help the main verb express action or create verb phrases. Some examples of auxiliary verbs are would, might and am.

     Nouns are words that name a person, place, thing or idea. A few examples of nouns are person, place, thing and idea. Proper nouns name specific things such as Jeff, California, and English. To change a noun from singular form to plural form an s or es must be added to the end of the word. Two examples are thing/things and dish/dishes. Some nouns have irregular plural forms and are a little harder to spell sometimes. A couple of these nouns are man/men, and reality/realities. To show ownership, one must add an apostrophe s to the end of a singular noun, or just an apostrophe to a plural noun. Examples of the possessive form are Jeff’s possession and fools’ wisdom.

     Pronouns are words used in place of nouns to shorten a repeated noun that has already been mentioned. The noun that the pronoun replaces is called the antecedent of the pronoun. My girlfriend goes shopping a lot. She spends a bunch of money on garbage. In these last two sentences, she is the pronoun, and girlfriend is the antecedent. There are many forms of pronouns, such as personal, possessive, reflexive, intensive, indefinite, demonstrative, interrogative, relative and reciprocal.

     Adjectives are very useful words. They add information to sentences by telling us more about nouns and pronouns, usually by describing, identifying, or quantifying those words. Adjectives usually come before the words they modify, but sometimes follow linking verbs. Here are two examples. She is a nice woman. That woman is nice. Quantifying adjectives come in the form of articles and numbers such as an, and twenty-one.

     An adverb is defined as a word that gives more information about a verb, adjective or other adverbs. In the sentence: She runs slow, slow describes how sue performs the adjective, runs. In the sentence She runs very slow, very describes the adverb slow, and tells how slow she runs. Most, but not all adverbs end in ly, but not all words that end in ly are adverbs. Ugly is an adjective. Supply can be a noun. Quickly and not are both adverbs.

     A preposition is a word, which shows relationships between other words in the sentence. Relationships between words can be in the form of time or space. She went to the mall again. To is a preposition that shows direction or space. She will find more clothes than you could imagine in thirty minutes. In is the preposition that shows time. A preposition always goes with a noun or pronoun, which is called the object of the preposition.

The preposition is almost always before the noun or pronoun and that is why it is called a preposition. The preposition and the object of the preposition together are called a prepositional phrase. In the sentence She went to the mall, to the mall is the prepositional phrase.

     A conjunction is a word that connects words, or groups of words, to tell something about the relationship between these words. In the sentence she and I are friends, and connects two pronouns, she and I. Coordinating conjunctions are conjunctions, which connect two equal parts of a sentence. The most common ones are and, or, but, and so. She is small but strong. But is used as a coordinating conjunction. Subordinating conjunctions connect two parts of a sentence that are not equal. Some subordinating conjunctions are whether, though and because. Correlative conjunctions are pairs of conjunctions that work together. Both she and I live in San Diego. Both/and, neither/nor, whether/or are all common correlative conjunctions. Conjunctive adverbs are adverbs that show a transition between ideas within a sentence. They normally show comparison, contrast, or cause-effect relationships. She was sick; however, she still could muster up enough energy to go to the mall.

     An interjection is a word, or a short phrase used to express emotion or surprise. Interjections are often sentence fragments, or stand by themselves. Yeah! I’m done. Yeah is used to show the long awaited emotion of freedom. Interjections are also often used as commands, or as part of a protest. Stop! Don’t assign so much homework. Interjections are very important, and that’s why they are mentioned last, but not least, in the eight parts of speech.

(1)Interjection (2)Verb (3)Noun (4)Conjunction (5)Pronoun (6)Adjective

(1)Hey! This class keeps me from (2)sleeping in all (3)day; (4)although, (5)it has a (6)negative

(7)Preposition (8)Adverb

effect on my sleep, because I like staying up (7)all night, or until I can (8)hardly keep my eyes open.

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