Parts of Speech in English

Parts of Speech in English

If you’re looking for the parts of speech in English grammar, you’ve come to the right place!

There are a total of 9 parts of speech in English: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, articles, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections.

Read on for a brief explanation of each!


Nouns

Lots of teachers say a noun is a person, place, or thing! You should also add ideas to that list. Proper nouns in English start with a capital letter, but other nouns do not.

Nouns in English can be singular or plural. to form a regular plural, we simply add -s or -es to the end of a noun. Irregular plurals do not follow this rule.


Pronouns

Pronouns are used to stand in place for a noun, because in English we don’t like to repeat nouns again and again. The noun that a pronoun refers back to is called its antecedent. Examples of common pronouns in English are he, she, it, him, her, mine, this, that, myself. Pronouns in English change form to show, for example, whether they are singular or plural, subjects or objects, male or female or neither.

Here is a complete article on pronouns in English.


Verbs

Verbs are words we use to talk about actions, states, and occurrences (things that happen). Many people would say that nouns and verbs are the most important and useful parts of speech in any language.

The main verb in a sentence has a subject, generally a noun or pronoun referring to the person or thing that the sentence is about. For example, in the sentence Maria walks, the verb is walks and the subject is Maria.

Verbs can change form to ‘agree with’ their subject.

Here is a list of the most common verbs in English.

Here is a complete guide to the English verb tenses.


Adjectives

Adjectives are words that describe, or modify, nouns. They generally (but not always) come before nouns. In the following phrases, the adjectives are in bold:

a big party some terrible news the best pizza an interesting idea a really strong leader

For more information, check out our list of the most common adjectives in English.


Adverbs

Like adjectives, adverbs are describing words. But while adjectives describe only nouns, adverbs can describe verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, or entire sentences.

Because adverbs are so versatile, it is hard to say much that applies to all adverbs generally. They can appear at different places in the sentence: at the beginning, before a verb, before an adjective, after a verb, or at the end of a sentence. Many adjectives can be transformed into adverbs by adding the suffix -ly: slow becomes slowly, eventual becomes eventually, stupid becomes stupidly, etc.

One of the most basic types of adverbs are adverbs of frequency. Click through to read more about those.


Articles

The articles in English are a, an (indefinite articles) and the (definite article). Articles can be really tricky, but the basic idea is that we use indefinite articles when we are introducing a new noun to our listeners, and we use definite articles to refer to a specific object that our listeners already know about.


Prepositions

Prepositions are, to put it simply, words that are placed before (pre-position) nouns or pronouns to connect them to other parts of speech in a sentence. There are different types of preposition that give different types of information: prepositions of time, prepositions of place, prepositions of direction.


Conjunctions

Conjunctions are words that connect. They can connect, for example, a list of nouns in a series. But most of the time, when we are talking about conjunctions, we are talking about connecting one clause to another clause in the same sentence. There are two types of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions.

Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions connect two clauses of equal importance into what we call a compound sentence. There are not many coordinating conjunctions. You can remember them with the acronym FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

Subordinating Conjunctions

When we connect clauses using subordinating conjunctions, we are giving one clause more importance than the other. The less important clause is called a subordinate clause. Two or more clauses combined with subordinating conjunctions are called a complex sentence. Some common subordinating conjunctions are because, although, before, since, when, while, and if.


Interjections

Interjections are funny words. They are sort of the black sheep of English grammar. They are not connected to the other words in a sentence (they are inter-jected, put in between, the other words). Generally they add emotion to a sentence: ouch, wow, hmm, oops, well, geez.

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