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Thereareninepartsofspeech

ThePartsofSpeech
A review for ESOL students

Thereareninepartsofspeech.Theyarearticles,nouns,pronouns,
adjectives,verbs,adverbs,conjunctions,prepositions,andinterjections.A
wordofcaution,however,awordcanbemorethanonepartofspeech.You
canfindoutmoreinformationonthepartsofspeechbycheckingthesources
listedatthebottomofthisreview.

ouns

Anounisawordusedtonamesomething:aperson/animal,
aplace,athing,oranidea.Forexample,allofthefollowingarenouns.
Leah,Ignacio,Lan,Marek
Japan,Venezuela,Atlanta,Kroger,theGap
pencil,store,music,air
biology,theoryofRelativity,Pythagoreantheory

Hint:Theyaresometimesprecededbynounmarkers.Nounmarkersarealsocalled
determinersandquantifiers.Theyarewordslikea,an,the,this,that,these,those,each,some,
any,every,no,numbers(1,2,3,etc.),several,many,alot,few,possessivepronouns(his,her,
etc).Seedeterminersformoreinformation.

Nounsareclassifiedinseveralways
1. Nounscanbesingularorplural.

Singularnounsnameonlyoneperson,place,thingoridea.
Oneapple,apencil,thebook
Pluralnounsnametwoormorepersons,places,thingsorideas.Mostsingularnouns
(NotALL)aremadepluralbyaddings.Forexample,(pencilisasingularnoun.The
wordpencilsisapluralnoun.)
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Exception #1:Ifanounendswiththes,sh,ch,orxlikethewords,kiss,church,ash
orbox,thentheyaremadepluralbyaddinges(kisses,churches,ashes,andboxes).

Exception #2:Therearealsoirregularnounsthatdonotfollowanyrules.For
example,thepluralformofthewordchildischildren.

NounscanbeProperNounsorCommonNouns
A.Propernounsrefertospecificpeople,places,thingsandideas.Aperson'sname
(LeahGraham)isapropernoun,forexample.Otherexamplesarenamesofplaces
(Atlanta,Georgia)andnamesofthings(theNavy).Theyarealwayscapitalized!
PeoplesnamesandtitlesKingHenry,Mrs.Smith
Namesfordeity,religions,religiousfollowers,andsacredbooksGod,
Allah,Buddha,Islam,Catholicism,Christians
Races,nationalities,tribes,andlanguagesAfricanAmerican,Polish
American,Black,Chinese,Russian
SpecificPlaceslikecountries,cities,bodiesofwater,streets,buildings,
andparks
SpecificorganizationsCentralIntelligenceAgency(CIA),.
Daysoftheweek,months,andholidays,
Brandnamesofproducts
Historicalperiods,wellknownevents,anddocumentsMiddleages,
BostonTeaParty,MagnaCarta
Titlesofpublicationsandwrittendocuments
b.Commonnounsareallothernouns.Forexample:cat,pencil,paper,etc.Theyarenot
capitalizedunlesstheyarethefirstwordinthesentence.
Nounscanalsobecollective.
Collectivenounsarenounsthataregrammaticallyconsideredsingular,butincludemore
thanoneperson,place,thing,orideainitsmeaning.Wordsliketeam,group,jury,
committee,audience,crowd,class,troop,family,team,couple,band,herd,quartet,and
society.
Generally,collectivenounsaretreatedassingularbecausetheyemphasizethegroupas
oneunit.
Thecommitteeisgoingtomakeadecision.

Nounscanalsobeeithercountornoncount.
Nounsthatarenoncountcannotbecounted.Forexample,
onecannotgooutsidetohavetwofreshairs.Onegoesoutsideforfreshair.
5.NounscanbeAbstractorconcrete
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Concretenounsarenounsthatyoucantouch.Theyarepeople,places,andsomethings.
Wordslikeperson,court,Georgia,pencil,hand,paper,car,anddoorareallexamplesof
concretenouns.
Abstractnounsarenounsthatcannotbephysicallyheld.Forexample,thingslikeair,
justice,safety,Democracy,faith,religion,etc.
6.NounscanbeGerunds
Agerundistheingformoftheverbandisusedasanoun.Forexample,
Runningisgoodforyou.
Runningisthenoun/gerundandisistheverb.
Mycryingupsethim.
Cryingisthesubjectandupsetistheverb
Note:Anouncanfitintomorethanoneofthesecategories.Forexample,thenounAngela
isasingular,concrete,count,propernoun.

ronouns

Apronounisawordthatreplacesanoun.Theyeliminatetheneedforrepetition.
ForExample:
InsteadofEmmatalkedtoEmma'schild,youmightsayEmmatalkedtoherchild.
Heristhepronoun.Itrenamestheantecedent,Emma.

Thereareseveraltypesofpronouns.
PersonalPronounsrefertospecificpersonsorthings.Personalpronounscanactassubjects,
objects,orpossessives.
Singular:I,me,you,she,her,he,him,it
Plural:we,us,you,they,them
I,you,she,he,it,we,andtheyareusedassubjectsofsentences.
Forexample,Sheknewthegrammarrulesverywell.
Thepersonalpronounsthatcanbeusedasobjectsare:
Me,you,him,her,it,them
ForExample:
Theteachergaveallofthemgoodgrades.
Tommygavehispoetrybooktoher.
Then,Azragaveittome.
Them,herandmearepersonalpronounsusedasobjects.TheyareNEVERthesubjectsofthe
sentences.
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PossessivePronounsindicateownershiporpossession.
Singular:my,mine,your,yours,hers,his,its
Plural:yours,ours,theirs,
ForExample:Shereturnedmypenciltomebecauseitwasmine.

3.ReflexivePronounsnameareceiverofanactionwhoisidenticaltothedoeroftheaction.
Singular:myself,yourself,himself,herself,itself
Plural:ourselves,yourselves,themselves
Forexample:Manuelacongratulatedherselfonhergoodgrades.
Here,Manuelaisboththedoerandthereceiveroftheaction.
Q:So,whodidManuelacongratulate?A:Herself.

4.IntensivePronounsemphasizeanounoranotherpronoun.
Singular:myself,yourself,himself,herself,itself
Plural:ourselves,yourselves,themselves
ForExample:IsawBradPitthimselfatthemall.
Here,himselfemphasizestheantecedent,BraddPitt.
5.ReciprocalPronounsexpresssharedactionsorfeelings.Theyare:
EachotherOneanother
ForExample:
YanKoandTaihelpeachotherwiththeirhomework.
Leonandhisgirlfrienddancewithoneanotherwhentheygoclubbing.
6.IndefinitePronounsrefertononspecificpersonsandthings.
All,another,any,anybody,anyone,anything,both,each,either,everybody,everyone,
everything,few,many,neither,nobody,none,noone,nothing,one,several,some,
somebody,someone,something
ForExample:
ManybelievethatUFOsexist,butnobodycanproveit.
Noonecanbesureifaliensreallyexist,butonlyfewwonderifElvisisstillalive.
Theunderlinedindefinitepronounsdonotrefertoanyoneperson.Theyarereferringtopeople
ingeneral.
7.DemonstrativePronounsarealsoconsiderednounmarkers.They"point"towardsnouns.
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this,that,thesethose
ForExample:
ThatwomanattendsGainesvilleCollege.
Thatpointsoutwhichwoman.
ThewomanattendsGainesvilleCollege.
Q:Whichwoman?A:Thatwoman.
8.InterrogativePronounsintroducequestions.
Who,Whom,Whose,Which,What
ForExample:
Whoisgoingonvacation?Towhomwilltheteachergivean"A"?
Whatareyoudoing?
9.RelativePronounsintroducedependentclausesandreferstoapersonorthingalready
mentionedinthesentence(i.e.theantecedent).
Who,whoever,whom,whomever,whose,which,that
ForExample:
TheEnglishthatwelearninclasswillhelpuspassEnglish1101.
thatwelearninclassistheadjectiveclausethatdescribesEnglish.And,thatistherelative
pronoun.
Q:WhichEnglish?
A:TheEnglishthatwelearninclassasopposedtotheEnglishwelearnaroundourfriends.

Note:Adjectivesclausesmodifynounsorpronouns,andusuallyansweroneofthe
followingquestions:Whichone?Whatkindof?Theybeginwitharelativepronounorarelative
adverb(whenorwhere).

djectives

Anadjectivemodifies(describes)anounorpronoun.
NormallyinEnglish,theadjectivecomesbeforethenoun.Forexample:
Thesmartstudentearnedan"A".
Theyalsocomeafterlinkingverbs.Forexample:
Ifeelhappy.
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Adjectivescanbeusedtomakecomparisons.
Formostadjectivesofoneortwosyllables,youcanadder.Forexample,greater,faster,
stronger.
Foradjectiveslongerthantwosyllables,youshouldusethewordmore.
Forexample,Hewasmoreintelligentthanhissisterwas.

Adjectivescanalsobeusedassuperlatives.
Thisisusuallydonebyaddingesttotheendofanadjectivethatisoneortwosyllables.
Forexample,theloudest,thecoolest,thesmartest.
Ifanadjectiveisthreesyllablesorlonger,youmustusethewordsthemost.Forexample:
Katsuisthemostintelligentpersonintheworld!

WARNINGNeverusebothanerendingandthewordmoreoran
estendingandthewordmost.
Forexample,Iamthemosthappiestwhenmystudentslearn.Instead,itshouldbe:Iam
thehappiestwhenmystudentslearn.
Therearesomeirregularadjectiveandadverbforms.Forexample:
Adjective

Adverb

Comparingtwo

Comparingthreeor
more

Bad

badly

Worse

worst

Good

Well

Better

Best

Little

Less

Least

Much

Many

More

Most

PunctuationNote:Adjectivesarenotusuallycapitalizedunlesstheyarethefirstwordina
sentence.BUT,nationalitiesarealsoadjectivesandshouldbecapitalized.Forexample:
RickyMartinisPuertoRicanandMichelleYeohisChinese.
Thesearecalledproperadjectives.And,likepropernouns,properadjectivesarealways
capitalizedinEnglish.Theyarederivedfrompropernounsandarewordslike:African
American,Vietnamese,Latino,Italian,Japanese,Korean,etc.Theycanalsoincludeadjectives
likeCatholic,Jewish,Republican,Democrat,etc.
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Whentheyareusedtogether,theyarearrangedinacertainorder.

Determiner*

Opinion

Size

Age

Color

Origin

Material

Noun

The,This

Pretty

Big

New

Blue

Leather

Sofa

Some

Tall

Thin

Old

Purple

Puerto
Rican

My

Expensive

Small

Ancient

Black

Chinese

Silk

Wood
Scarf

ForExample:
Isawthattall,thin,old,blue,silkscarfatthestoreandIboughtit.
LeondrivesanexpensiveoldItaliancar.

Youwouldntordinarilyusesomanyadjectivesinjustonesentence.
*Note:Determinersincludearticles,demonstrativepronouns,indefinitepronounsand
possessivepronouns.

dverbs

Anadverbisawordthatmodifiesanactionverb,anadjectiveoranotheradverb.
Theteachercarefullygradedthehomework.
Carefullyisanadverbthatmodifiestheactionverbtograde.
Tommywasextremelyenthusiasticaboutdoinghishomework.
Extremelyisanadverbthatmodifiestheadjectiveenthusiastic.
YanKoranoutoftheclassroomveryquickly.
Veryisanadverbthatmodifiestheadverbquickly.
Warning:YouneedanadjectiveafterlinkingverbsNEVERanadverb!
Forexample,Taifeelsbad(guilty)whenhehastoleaveclass.
Here,badisanadjectivethatmodifiesthepropernounTai.Itisanadjectivebecauseitfollows
thelinkingverbtofeel.

HOWEVER,verbslikelook,sound,smell,feel,andtastecanfunctionaseitheranactionverb
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oralinkingverb.
Taifeelsbadly(tothetouch)afterswimminginachlorinatedpool.Hisskinisreallydry.
Here,badisusedinitsadverbialformsinceitfollowsanactionverb,tofeel.
TypesofAdverbs:
RelativeAdverbsintroducequestionsanddependentadverbialclauses.Theyanswerthe
questionsWhen?andWhere?Theyare:
WhenWhere
ForExample:
WhenIwasyoung,Ilikedtoplayoutside.
Q:WhendidIliketoplayoutside?A:WhenIwasyoung.

AdverbsofFrequencyindicateanswerthequestionhowoften?Theyare:
Always,usually,often,sometimes,rarely,never
ThestudentsinESOL98alwaysstudyveryhard.
Theyrarelyforgettodotheirhomework.

NOTE:Generally,theseadverbscomebeforetheverbhoweverthereisanexception.
Inthecaseoftheverbtobe,theadverboffrequencycomesaftertheverb.For
example:Azraisalwaysontimeforclass.

onjunctionsarethescotchtapeofthegrammaticalworld.Theyjointogether

wordsandphrases.Therearethreekindsofconjunctions:coordinatingconjunctions,correlative
conjunctions,andsubordinatingconjunctions.

1.CoordinatingConjunctions
TherearesevencoordinatingconjunctionsinEnglish.Youcanusethemnemonicdevice
fanboystorememberthem.
For
And
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Nor
But
Or
Yet
So
Theycanbeusedwithcommastocreatecompoundsentences.Forexample:
Ignaciolovestodance,butRocohasnorhythm.
KyongMeeworkshard,yetshestillearnslowgrades.
Note:Acompoundsentenceisasentencemadeupoftwoindependentclauses.Thatis,a
compoundsentenceissimplytwocompletesentencesjoinedbyacommaandacoordinating
conjunction(i.e.afanboys).
2. CorrelativeConjunctionsalsojoinideas,buttheyworkinpairs.Theyare:
Bothand
neithernor
whetheror
eitheror
notonlybutalso
ForExample:
NotonlyamIhappyaboutthegrades,butIamalsoexcitedthatyouarelearning!
3.SubordinatingConjunctionsjoinanindependentclausetoasubordinateclause.Thatis,they
joinaclausethatcanstandalonewithaclausethatcannotstandalone.Somefrequentlyused
subordinatingconjunctionsare:
after,although,as,asif,because,before,evenif,eventhough,if,since,sothat,though,unless,
until,when,whenever,where,wherever,whether,while.

ForExample:
Althoughthestudentsweretired,theystillcametoclass.

nterjections

Interjectionsarewordsusedtoexpressemotionalstates.Theycanusuallybefoundinnarrative
writing,interviews,andinspokenEnglish.Theycanstandalone.Forexample:
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Oh!,wow!,Ouch!Oops!Hey!
PunctuationNote:Theyarepunctuatedwitheithercommasorexclamationmarks.Mild
interjectionsarefollowedbyacomma,butstrongerinterjectionsarepunctuatedwithan
exclamationmark(!).
Oh,werelateforthemovie.
Generally,themoviesisnotanimportantdestination.Therefore,thepersonmakingthis
statementwillsoundlessurgentthanthenextexample.
Oh!Imlateforwork.
Work,unlikethemovies,isgenerallyconsideredaveryimportantdestination.Ifonedoesnt
arriveontime,thereisthepossibilityofbeingfiredoroflosingface.Here,thespeakerwill
haveagreatersenseofurgency.

Generally

,youdonotfindinterjectionsinacademicwriting.

repositions

Prepositionsarewordsthat,likeconjunctions,connectanounorpronountoanotherwordina
sentence.Somecommonprepositions:

About

Before

Down

Into

Through

Above

Behind

During

Like

To

Across

Below

Except

Of

Toward

After

Beneath

For

Off

Under

Among

Beside

From

On

Up

Around

Between

Over

With

At

By

Since

Without

In
Insteadof

Aprepositionalphraseisagroupofwordsthatbeginswithaprepositionandendswithanoun
orpronoun.Theycanactasadjectivesorasadverbs.
Manuela,thestudentfromGermany,wroteanexcellentpaperonthecomputer.

erbs

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Verbsgenerallyexpressactionorastateofbeing.Thereareseveralclassificationsforverbs
actionverbs,/linkingverbs,mainverbs/auxiliaryverbs,transitive/intransitiveandphrasalverbs.
1.Actionverbsshowaction.
Heruns.Heplays.Theystudy.
2.LinkingVerbslinkthesubjecttoanadjective.
RickyMartinisbeautiful.
ThelinkingverbislinkstheadjectivebeautifulwiththesubjectRickyMartin.
1.Mainverbscanstandalone.
2.Auxiliaryverbs,alsocalledhelpingverbs,serveassupporttothemainverb.
Themostcommonauxiliaryverbsare:
Have,has,had
Do,does,did
Be,am,is,are,was,were,being,been
Should,could,will,would,might,can,may,must,shall,ought(to)

Forexample:
Taihasruneveryday.
Runisanactionverb.Thesubjectcanactually"do"it.
Hasisthehelpingverb.Ithelpsthemainverbruntobepresentperfecttense.
Verbscanbetransitiveorintransitive.
TransitiveVerbsrequireadirectobjectinordertomakesense.
ForExample:
Yolandatakesaspirinforherheadaches.
Here,takesisatransitiveverbsincethesentenceYolandatakeshasnomeaningwithout
itsdirectobjectaspirin.

IntransitiveVerbsdonotneeddirectobjectstomakethemmeaningful.For
Example:
Julioswims.
Theverbswimhasmeaningforthereaderwithoutanobject.

Caution:Averbcanbeeithertransitiveorintransitivedependingonitscontext.For
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Example:
Thecarsrace.Here,raceisintransitive.Itdoesnotneedanobject.
Myfatherraceshorses.Here,racesistransitive.Itrequirestheobjecthorsesinorderto
makesense.
Verbscanbephrasal.
1. Phrasalverbsaremadeupofaverbandapreposition.Theprepositiongivestheverba
differentmeaningthanitwouldhavebyitself.Forexample,theverblookhasadifferent
meaningfromthephrasalverblookup(inthedictionary).
Somemoreexamples:
callup,findout,handin,makeup,putoff,turnon,writeup

WARNING:Thebaseformofaverbiscalledtheinfinitive.Itisto+verb.Forexample,
todo,towin,tostudy,etc.Undernocircumstancecanaverbprecededbytobeconsidereda
verb.Infinitivesarenotverbs.

rticlesarethe,a,andan.

Q: What do articles do in a sentence?


A: Articles signal that a noun is going to
follow.
Example:

Whoinventedthe telephone? The wheel?


The refrigerator? The airplane?
A cat was chasing a mouse in my back yard.
Modifiers (adjectives & adverbs) can appear between an article and a noun.
Examples:
A sunset.
A spectacular sunset.
An exceptionally spectacular sunset.
The indefinite article a can only appear before nouns that begin with a consonant sound: a
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hand, a book, a world, a computer


The indefinite article an can only appear before nouns that begin with a vowel sound: an
apartment, an hour, an article

General Rules for the Use of Articles:


I. Use a/an with singular count nouns whose specific identity is not known to the reader either
because it is being mentioned for the first time, or because its specific identity is unknown
even to the writer.

Examples:
Julia arrived in a limousine. (a

= one among many. Not a specific one.)


Were looking for an apartment. (an = any one.)
II. Do not use a/an with non-count nouns. Only use a/an with non-count nouns if you add a count noun
in front of the non-count noun.
Example:
Anh asked her mother for an advice.
Anh asked her mother for apiece of
advice.

III.Usethewithmostnounswhosespecificidentityisknowntothereaderbecause:
1.thenounhasbeenpreviouslymentioned:
Yesterday I saw a group of ESL students. The students were playing with a ball. The
ball was white and blue. The ball rolled into a hole. The hole was small.

2.thenounismadespecificbyasuperlative:
I bought thefastest computer they had.
3. the noun describes a unique person, place, or thing:
Please give this to themanager.
Thesun is bright today.
Rain is falling heavily in theNorth.
4. the context or situation makes the nouns identity clear:
Please dont slam the door when you leave.
Bob warned me that the dog playing in his yard is very affectionate and jumps on every
person it meets.

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IV. Do not use the with plural or non-count nouns meaning "all" or "in general" (i.e. generic reference
nouns). Do not use the with most singular proper nouns.
The fountains are an expensive element of landscape design.
In some parts of the world, the rice is preferred to all other grains.

V.Donotusearticleswithothernounmarkersordeterminers,i.e.possessivenouns(Helens)
andsomepronouns(his,her,its,ours,their,whose,this,that,these,those,all,any,each,either,
every,few,many,more,most,much,neither,several,some).
Exceptions:
All the
A few
The most

Examples:
TheHelensbookisonthefloor.

AthisbookbelongstoTrung.

A final caution-Awordcanbemorethanonepartofspeech.
Forexample:
Isatonthesofa.
Above,sofaisusedasanoun(objectofthepreposition).
Isleptonthesofabed.
But,heresofaisusedasanadjectivetomodifythenounbed.
And,nativespeakersoftentakepoeticlicensewithwordsinconversation.Forexample:
ItsSofacityforyou!
Here,sofaactsasanadjectivetodescribethenouncity.Themeaningofthesentenceisthatthe
personwillhavetosleeponthesofa,notabed.

Sources:

http://www.edb.utexas.edu/minliu/pbl/ESOL/help/libry/speech.htm

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Azar,B.(1992).FundamentalsofEnglishgrammar2nded.EnglewoodCliffs,NJ:PrenticeHall
Regents.
Hacker,D.(1989).Awritersreference.NewYork:St.Martins
Press,Inc.
Hayes,C.(1996).Englishathand.Marlton,NJ:TownsendPress.
Leahshead.
Shono,S.(Fall1998).ESL0650ArticlesHandout.

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