You are on page 1of 15

A review for ESL students

There are nine parts of speech. There are articles, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections.
Compiled by Leah Graham, Summer 1999


A noun is a word used to name something: a person/animal, a place, a thing, or an idea. or e!ample, all o" the "ollowing are nouns. Leah, #gnacio, Lan, $are% &apan, 'ene(uela, Atlanta, )roger, the Gap pencil, store, music, air biology, theory o" *elati+ity, ,ythagorean theory

Hint: -hey are sometimes preceded by noun mar%ers. .oun mar%ers are also called determiners and /uanti"iers. -hey are words li%e a, an, the, this, that, these, those, each, some, any, every, no, numbers (1,2,3,etc.), several, many, a lot, few, possessive pronouns (his, her, etc). See determiners "or more in"ormation.

Nouns are classified in several ways

1. Nouns can be singular or plural. Singular nouns name only one person, place, thing or idea. One apple, a pencil, the book lural nouns name two or more persons, places, things or ideas. $ost singular nouns 0.ot ALL1 are made plural by adding 2s. or e!ample, 0pencil is a singular noun. -he word pencils is a plural noun.1 Exception #1: #" a noun ends with the 2s, sh, ch, or ! li%e the words, kiss, church, ash or box, then they are made plural by adding 2es 0kisses, churches, ashes, and boxes). Exception #2:-here are also irregular nouns that do not "ollow any rules. e!ample, the plural "orm o" the word child is children. !. Nouns can be roper Nouns or "o##on Nouns or

3/45/99 6:43 ,$


roper nouns re"er to speci"ic people, places, things and ideas. A person7s name 0Leah Graham1 is a proper noun, "or e!ample. 8ther e!amples are names o" places 0Atlanta, Georgia1 and names o" things 0the .a+y1. -hey are always capitali(ed9
,eople:s names and titles; )ing <enry, $rs. Smith .ames "or deity, religions, religious "ollowers, and sacred boo%s; God, Allah, =uddha, #slam, Catholicism, Christians *aces, nationalities, tribes, and languages; frican merican, !olish" merican, #lack, $hinese, %ussian Speci"ic ,laces li%e countries, cities, bodies o" water, streets, buildings, and par%s Speci"ic organi(ations; Central #ntelligence Agency 0C#A1, >. ?ays o" the wee%, months, and holidays, =rand names o" products <istorical periods, well;%nown e+ents, and documents; &iddle a'es, #oston (ea !arty, &a'na $arta -itles o" publications and written documents

b1 "o##on nouns are all other nouns. or e!ample: cat, pencil, paper, etc. -hey are not capitali(ed unless they are the "irst word in the sentence. $. Nouns can also be collective. Collecti+e nouns are nouns that are grammatically considered singular, but include more than one person, place, thing, or idea in its meaning. @ords li%e team, 'roup, )ury, committee, audience, crowd, class, troop, family, team, couple, band, herd, *uartet, and society. Generally, collecti+e nouns are treated as singular because they emphasi(e the group as one unit. (he committee is 'oin' to make a decision. %. Nouns can also be either count or non&count. .ouns that are non;count cannot be counted. or e!ample, you cannot go outside to ha+e two "resh airs. 8ne goes outside "or "resh air. '. Nouns can be (bstract or concrete A noun can be abstract or concrete. Concrete nouns are nouns that you can touch. -hey are people, places, and some things. @ords li%e person, court, +eor'ia, pencil, hand, paper, car, and door are all e!amples o" concrete nouns. Abstract nouns are nouns that cannot be physically held. air, )ustice, safety, ,emocracy, faith, reli'ion, etc. or e!ample, things li%e

). Nouns can be *erunds A gerund is the 2ing "orm o" the +erb and is used as a noun.

or e!ample,

3/45/99 6:43 ,$

Running is 'ood for you. %unnin' is the noun/gerund and. is is the +erb. &y crying upset him. $ryin' is the subAect and upset is the +erb Note: A noun can "it into more than one o" these categories. n'ela is a singular, concrete, count, proper noun. or e!ample, the noun

A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun. -hey eliminate the need "or repetition. +or ,-a#ple: #nstead o" Emma talked to Emma's child, you might say Emma talked to her child. -er is the pronoun. #t renames the antecedent, .mma. There are several types of pronouns. ,ersonal ,ronouns refer to specific persons or things. ,ersonal pronouns can act as subAects, obAects, or possessi+es. 1. Singular: #, me, you, she, her, he, him, it lural: we, us, you, they, them #, you, she, he, it, we, they are used as subAects o" sentences. +or e-a#ple, /he .new the gra##ar rules very well. -he personal pronouns that can be used as objects are: $e, you, him, her, it, them +or ,-a#ple: The teacher gave all of them good grades. To##y gave his poetry boo. to her. Then, (/ra gave it to me. (hem, her and me are personal pronouns used as obAects. -hey are .8- the subAects o" the sentences. !. ossessive ronouns indicate ownership or possession. Singular: my, mine, your, yours, hers, his, its or B!ample: She returned my pencil to #e because it was mine.

3/45/99 6:43 ,$

$. 0efle-ive ronouns name a recei+er o" an action who is identical to the doer o" the action. Singular: mysel", yoursel", himsel", hersel", itsel" ,lural: oursel+es, yoursel+es, themsel+es or e!ample: $anuela congratulated herself on her good grades. <ere, &anuela is both the doer and the recei+er o" the action. D: So, who did $anuela congratulateE A: <ersel". '. 1ntensive ronouns emphasi(e a noun or another pronoun. Singular: mysel", yoursel", himsel", hersel", itsel" ,lural: oursel+es, yoursel+es, themsel+es +or ,-a#ple: 1 saw 2rad itt himself at the #all. <ere, himself emphasi(es the antecedent, =radd ,itt.

3. 0eciprocal ronouns e!press shared actions or "eelings. Bach other 8ne another

+or ,-a#ple: 3an 4o and Tai help each other with their ho#ewor.. 5eon and his girlfriend dance with one another when they go clubbing. 6. 1ndefinite ronouns re"er to non;speci"ic persons and things. All, another, any, anybody, anyone, anything, both, each, either, e+erybody, e+eryone, e+erything, "ew, many, neither, nobody, none, no one, nothing, one, se+eral, some, somebody, someone, something +or ,-a#ple: &any believe that 7+89s e-ist, but nobody can prove it. 0o one can be sure if aliens really e-ist, but only few wonder if ,lvis is still alive. -he underlined inde"inite pronouns do not re"er to any one person. -hey are re"erring to people in general. 5. :e#onstrative ronouns are also considered noun mar%ers. -hey FpointG towards nouns. this, that, these those

3/45/99 6:43 ,$

+or ,-a#ple: -hat woman attends Gaines+ille College. (hat points out which woman. -he woman attends Gaines+ille College. D: @hich womanE A: -hat woman. 9. 1nterrogative ronouns introduce /uestions. @ho, @hom, @hose, @hich, @hat +or ,-a#ple: 1ho is going on vacation; To whom will the teacher give an <(=; 1hat are you doing; 1H. 0elative ronouns introduce dependent clauses and re"ers to a person or thing already mentioned in the sentence 0i.e. the antecedent1. @ho, whoe+er, whom, whome+er, whose, which, that +or ,-a#ple: The ,nglish that we learn in class will help us pass ,nglish 11>1. that we learn in class is the adAecti+e clause that describes .n'lish. And, that is the relati+e pronoun. D: @hich BnglishE A: -he Bnglish that we learn in classIas opposed to the Bnglish we learn around our "riends. Note: AdAecti+es clauses modi"y nouns or pronouns, and usually answer one o" the "ollowing /uestions: 1hich one2 1hat kind of2 -hey begin with a relati+e pronoun or a relati+e ad+erb 0when or where1.


An adAecti+e modi"ies 0describes1 a noun or pronoun. .ormally in Bnglish, the adAecti+e comes be"ore the noun. +or e-a#ple: The smart student earned an ?(?. -hey also come a"ter lin%ing +erbs. +or e-a#ple: 1 feel happy. (djectives can be used to #a.e co#parisons.

3/45/99 6:43 ,$

or most adAecti+es o" one or two syllables, you can add 2er. "aster, stronger.

or e!ample, greater,

or adAecti+es longer than two syllables, you should use the word more. or e!ample, -e was more intelligent than his sister was.

(djectives can also be used as superlatives. -his is usually done by adding 3est to the end o" an adAecti+e that is one or two syllables. or e!ample, the loudest, the coolest, the smartest. #" an adAecti+e is three syllables or longer, you must use the words the most. e!ample, 4atsu is the most likeable person in the world5 or

WARNING& Never use both an er ending and the word more or an est ending and the word most. or e!ample, 6 am the most happiest when my students learn. #nstead, it should be: 6 am the happiest when my students learn. -here are some irregular adAecti+e and ad+erb "orms. (djective (dverb "o#paring two =ad Good Little $uch badly @ell $any @orse =etter Less $ore or e!ample: "o#paring three or #ore worst =est Least $ost

unctuation Note: AdAecti+es are not usually capitali(ed unless they are the "irst word in a sentence. 27T, nationalities are also adAecti+es and should be capitali(ed. or e!ample: %icky &artin is Puerto Rican and &ichelle 7eoh is Chinese. -hese are called proper adAecti+es. And, li%e proper nouns, proper adjectives are always capitali(ed in Bnglish. -hey are deri+ed "rom proper nouns and are words li%e: frican" merican, 8ietnamese, 9atino, 6talian, :apanese, 4orean, etc. -hey can also include adAecti+es li%e $atholic, :ewish, %epublican, ,emocrat, etc. @hen they are used together, they are arranged in a certain order.








3/45/99 6:43 ,$

(he, (his /ome &y

!retty (all

#i' (hin /mall

0ew Old ncient

#lue !urple #lack

!uerto %ican $hinese

9eather 1ood /ilk

/ofa /carf

+or ,-a#ple: 1 saw that tall, thin, old, blue silk scarf at the store and 1 bought it. 5eon drives an expensive old 6talian car. (lthough, we wouldn9t ordinarily use so #any adjectives in just one sentence. @Note: ?eterminers include articles, demonstrati+e pronouns, inde"inite pronouns and possessi+e pronouns.


An ad+erb is a word that modi"ies an action +erb, an adAecti+e or another ad+erb. -he teacher carefully graded the homewor%. $arefully is an ad+erb that modi"ies the action +erb to 'rade. -ommy was e-tre#ely enthusiastic about doing his homewor%. .xtremely is an ad+erb that modi"ies the adAecti+e enthusiastic. Kan )o ran out o" the classroom very /uic%ly. 8ery is an ad+erb that modi"ies the ad+erb *uickly. Warning: Kou need an adAecti+e a"ter lin%ing +erbs>N,B,0 an ad+erb9 or e!ample, (ai feels bad (guilty) when he has to leave class. <ere, bad is an adAecti+e that modi"ies the proper noun (ai. #t is an adAecti+e because it "ollows the lin%ing +erb to feel.

H8C,B,0, +erbs li%e look, sound, smell, feel, and taste can "unction as either an action +erb or a lin%ing +erb. (ai feels badly (to the touch) after swimmin' in a chlorinated pool. -is skin is really dry.

3/45/99 6:43 ,$

<ere, bad is used in its ad+erbial "orm since it "ollows an action +erb, to feel. -ypes o" Ad+erbs: 1. *elati+e Ad+erbs introduce /uestions and dependent ad+erbial clauses. -hey answer the /uestions 1hen2 and 1here2 -hey are: @hen @here +or ,-a#ple: 1hen 1 was young, 1 li.ed to play outside. D: @hen did # li%e to play outsideE A: @hen # was young. 4. Ad+erbs o" re/uency indicate answer the /uestion how oftenE -hey are: Always, usually, o"ten, sometimes, rarely, ne+er The students in ,S85 DE always study very hard. They rarely forget to do their ho#ewor.. N8T,: *enerally, these adverbs co#e before the verbF however there is an e-ception. 1n the case of the verb to be, the adverb of freGuency co#es after the verb. +or e-a#ple: (/ra is always on ti#e for class.


onjunctions are the scotch tape o" the grammatical world. -hey Aoin together

words and phrases. -here are three %inds o" conAunctions: coordinating conAunctions, correlati+e conAunctions, and subordinating conAunctions. 1. "oordinating "onjunctions -here are se+en coordinating conAunctions in Bnglish. Kou can use the mnemonic de+ice fanboys to remember them. +or (nd Nor 2ut 8r 3et So

3/45/99 6:43 ,$

-hey can be used with commas to create compound sentences. +or e-a#ple: 1gnacio loves to dance, but 0ocHo has no rhyth#. 4yong Aee wor.s hard, yet she still earns low grades. Note: A compound sentence is a sentence made up o" two independent clauses. -hat is, a compound sentence is simply two complete sentences Aoined by a comma and a coordinating conAunction 0i.e. a "anboys1. 4. "orrelative "onjunctions also Aoin ideas, but they wor% in pairs. -hey are: =oth>and neither>nor whether>or either>or not only>but also +or ,-a#ple: 0ot only a# 1 happy about the grades, but 1 a# also e-cited that you are learningI $. Subordinating "onjunctions Aoin an independent clause to a subordinate clause. -hat is, they Aoin a clause that can stand alone with a clause that cannot stand alone. Some "re/uently used subordinating conAunctions are: a"ter, although, as, as i", because, be"ore, e+en i", e+en though, i", since, so that, though, unless, until, when, whene+er, where, where+er, whether, while. +or ,-a#ple: lthou'h the students were tired, they still ca#e to class.


#nterAections are words used to e!press emotional states. -hey can usually be "ound in narrati+e writing, inter+iews, and in spo%en Bnglish. -hey can stand alone. or e!ample: Oh5, wow5, Ouch5 Oops5 -ey5 unctuation Note: -hey are punctuated with either commas or e!clamation mar%s. $ild interAections are "ollowed by a comma, but stronger interAections are punctuated with an e!clamation mar% 091 . Oh, we9re late for the #ovie.

3/45/99 6:43 ,$

Generally, the mo+ies is not an important destination. -here"ore, the person ma%ing this statement will sound less urgent than the ne!t e!ample. Oh5 19# late for wor.. @or%, unli%e the mo+ies, is generally considered a +ery important destination. #" one doesn:t arri+e on time, there is the possibility o" being "ired or o" losing "ace. <ere, the spea%er will ha+e a greater sense o" urgency. *enerally , you do not find interjections in acade#ic writing.

,repositions are words that, li%e conAunctions, connect a noun or pronoun to another word in a sentence. Some common prepositions: About Abo+e Across A"ter Among Around At =e"ore =ehind =elow =eneath =eside =etween =y ?own ?uring B!cept or rom #n #nstead o" #nto Li%e 8" 8"" 8n 8+er Since -hrough -o -oward Mnder Mp @ith @ithout

A prepositional phrase is a group o" words that begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun. -hey can act as adAecti+es or as ad+erbs. $anuela, the student fro# *er#any, wrote an e!cellent paper on the co#puter.


'erbs generally e!press action or a state o" being. -here are se+eral classi"ications "or +erbs; action +erbs,/lin%ing +erbs, main +erbs/au!iliary +erbs, transiti+e/intransiti+e and phrasal +erbs. 1. (ction verbs show action. <e runs. <e plays. -hey study. !. Berbs lin% the subAect to an adAecti+e. *ic%y $artin is beauti"ul. -he lin%ing +erb is lin%s the adAecti+e beautiful with the subAect %icky &artin.

3/45/99 6:43 ,$


1. Aain verbs can stand alone.

!. (u-iliary verbs, also called helping +erbs, ser+e as support to the main +erb. -he most common au!iliary +erbs are: <a+e, has, had ?o, does, did =e, am, is, are, was, were, being, been Should, could, will, would, might, can, may, must, shall, ought 0to1 +or e-a#ple: Tai has run everyday. %un is an action +erb. -he subAect can actually FdoG it. -as is the helping +erb. #t helps the main +erb run to be present per"ect tense. Berbs can be transitive or intransitive. 1. Transitive Berbs re/uire a direct obAect in order to ma%e sense. +or ,-a#ple: 3olanda ta%es aspirin for her headaches. <ere, takes is a transiti+e +erb since the sentence 7olanda takes has no meaning without its direct obAect aspirin. !. 1ntransitive Berbs do not need direct objects to #a.e the# #eaningful. +or ,-a#ple: Julio swims. -he +erb swim has meaning "or the reader without an obAect. Caution: A +erb can be either transiti+e or intransiti+e depending on its conte!t. +or ,-a#ple: The cars race. 2 <ere, race is intransiti+e. #t does not need an obAect. Ay father races horses. 2 <ere, races is transiti+e. #t re/uires the obAect horses in order to ma%e sense. Berbs can be phrasal.

3/45/99 6:43 ,$


1. ,hrasal +erbs are made up o" a +erb and a preposition. -he preposition gi+es the +erb a di""erent meaning than it would ha+e by itsel". or e!ample, the +erb look has a di""erent meaning "rom the phrasal +erb look up 0in the dictionary1. So#e #ore e-a#ples: call up, "ind out, hand in, ma%e up, put o"", turn on, write up C(0N1N*: -he base "orm o" a +erb is called the in"initi+e. #t is to N +erb. or e!ample, to do, to win, to study, etc. Mnder no circumstance can a +erb preceded by to be considered a +erb. 1nfinitives are not verbs.

Q: What do articles do in a sentence? A: Articles signal that a noun is going to follow. Example: Who invented the telephone? The wheel? The refrigerator? The airplane? A cat was chasing a mouse in my back yard.

odifiers !ad"ectives # adver$s% can appear $etween an article and a noun. Examples: A sunset. A spectacular sunset. An exceptionally spectacular sunset. The indefinite article &a' can onl( appear $efore nouns that $egin with a consonant sound: a hand, a book, a world, a computer The indefinite article &an' can onl( appear $efore nouns that $egin with a vowel sound: an apartment, an hour, an article

3/45/99 6:43 ,$


)eneral *ules for the +se of Articles:

,. +se a-an with singular count nouns whose specific identit( is not .nown to the reader either $ecause it is $eing mentioned for the first time/ or $ecause its specific identit( is un.nown even to the writer.

Julia arrived in a limousine. (a

one among many. !ot a specific one." We#re looking for an apartment. (an any one."

,,. 0o not use a-an with non1count nouns. 2nl( use a-an with non1count nouns if (ou add a count noun in front of the non1count noun. Example: $nh asked her mother for an advice. $nh asked her mother for a piece of advice.

###. Mse the with most nouns whose speci"ic identity is known to the reader because: 1. the noun has been pre+iously mentioned:
%esterday & saw a group of '() students. The students were playing with a ball. The ball was white and blue. The ball rolled into a hole. The hole was small.

4. the noun is made speci"ic by a superlati+e:

& bought the fastest computer they had.

3. the noun descri$es a uni4ue person/ place/ or thing: *lease give this to the manager. The sun is bright today. +ain is falling heavily in the !orth.

5. the context or situation the noun's identit( clear: *lease don#t slam the door when you leave. ,ob warned me that the dog playing in his yard is very affectionate and -umps on every person it meets.

3/45/99 6:43 ,$


,6. 0o not use the with plural or non1count nouns meaning 7all8 or 7in general8 !i.e. generic reference nouns%. 0o not use the with most singular proper nouns.

The fountains are an expensive element of landscape design. &n some parts of the world, the rice is preferred to all other grains.

'. ?o not use articles with other noun markers or determiners, i.e. possessive nouns 0<elen:s1 O and some pronouns 0his, her, its, ours, their, whose, this, that, these, those, all, any, each, either, e+ery, "ew, many, more, most, much, neither, se+eral, some1. .xceptions;
All the9 A few9 The most9


The .elen#s book is on the floor. A this book belongs to /rung.

A final caution- A word can be more than one part o" speech. +or e-a#ple:
1 sat on the sofa. Abo+e, sofa is used as a noun 0obAect o" the preposition1. 1 slept on the sofa bed. =ut, here sofa is used as an adAecti+e to modi"y the noun bed. And, nati+e spea%ers o"ten ta%e poetic license with words in con+ersation. 1t9s /ofa city for you9 <ere, so"a acts as an adAecti+e to describe the noun city. -he meaning o" the sentence is that the person will ha+e to sleep on the so"a, not a bed. or e!ample:

3/45/99 6:43 ,$


A(ar, =. 019941. <undamentals of .n'lish 'rammar 2nd ed. Bnglewood Cli""s, .&: ,rentice <all *egents. <ac%er, ?. 019591. ,ress, #nc. writer=s reference. .ew Kor%: St. $artin:s

<ayes, C. 019931. .n'lish at hand. $arlton, .&: -ownsend ,ress. Leah:s head. Shono, S. 0 all 19951. BSL H3JH Articles <andout.

3/45/99 6:43 ,$