Parts of Speech in English Grammar

What are parts of speech?

Parts of speech is very essential subject to learn English grammar. According to grammarians, parts of speech are divided into eight types. These eight parts of speech include noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, preposition, conjunctions, and interjections.  According to conventional studies off grammar, determiners are under category of adjectives. However, some modern grammarians place determiners as ninth parts of speech. 

parts of speech

Now we will discuss each parts of speech in detail.

WHAT IS A NOUN?

A noun is a naming word. We use it to nominate different thing available in this world. We use it to name a person, thing, animal, place, and abstract idea. Nouns are the initial word block in English language.

Examples: cat, bag, airplane, table, John, Italy

Examples in sentences: All the highlighted words in the below sentences are nouns:

I love red parrots

Pen is placed on the table.

Ali is sick today.

Happiness is the blessing.

 Types of Nouns

Generally, grammarians classify nouns on four basis.

1.    Common noun vs. proper noun

2.    Material noun vs. abstract noun

3.    Countable noun vs. uncountable noun

4.    Collective noun vs. compound  noun

One noun may fall in multiple categories. Let’s take example of word ‘pen’, it is a common noun, a countable noun, and a concrete noun and as well it is singular noun.  

Common noun: A common noun refers to a place or thing in a general. Examples of common noun are pen, table, sky, cloud, moon, tree, computer, water, banana, etc.

Proper noun: Proper nouns are the names of person or any specific/special thing. The proper nouns include: name of a person, name of organizations, historical documents, the names of days of the week, months, name of states and countries, unique architectures, religions and their holy books. Examples of proper nouns are: Ali, Karachi, December, Holy Quran, Sunday, and Canada.

Concrete noun: A concrete noun refers to anything (or anyone) that you can perceive through your physical senses: sight, touch, hearing, taste, or smell. All materialistic things are in category of concrete noun. Examples of concrete noun are pen, table, glass, building, computer and camera.

Abstract noun: An abstract noun refers to an idea which you cannot perceive through your five physical senses. Examples of abstract noun are justice, happiness, evil, and joy.

Collective noun: A noun that refers to a group of persons, things, or animals. The entire group is known with a single name. Examples of collective nouns are team, army, herd, bunch, and flock.

Compound noun: As the name suggest, compound nouns are nouns made up of more than one words. For example: inkpot, lightweight, roadmap. We can also use hyphen between two words like ice-cream, blue-blood  etc.

Countable noun: The countable nouns refer to nouns that have their singular and plural form. These nouns are named after anything (or anyone) that you can count. Examples of countable nouns are cup, tree, ball, car, and moon.

Uncountable noun: The uncountable nouns refer to nouns that do not have their singular and plural form. These nouns are named after anything that you cannot count. Examples of uncountable nouns are sugar, gas, water, salt, and oil.

Gerund noun: Gerunds are nouns that end -ing and take from action words therefore gerunds have verb-like properties. But these are used differently in a sentence and gerunds are modified with adverbs. How to differentiate gerund noun and verb. A same word may be verb and gerun but use is different. Look at two examples

(a) John is writing a story.

(b) John loves story writing. 

In sentence (a) writing is verb because it shows action that John is performing. But in sentence (b) playing is not an action being performed by John.

Verbal noun: Verbal nouns are different from gerund nouns. These are derived from verbs and do not have verb-like properties. Examples of verbal nouns are building, drawing, and attack.

 

WHAT IS A PRONOUN?

A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun in a sentence. In writing or spoken form, a name of a person or any other thing cannot be repeated. So to avoid repeating name in each sentence, we use pronoun for the replacement of that noun.

Examples of pronouns are: He, she, you, their, my, our, and none.

Pronouns have further several types according to Grammarians that are:  personal pronoun, the demonstrative pronoun, the interrogative pronoun, the indefinite pronoun, the relative pronoun, the reflexive pronoun, and the intensive pronoun.

Types of Pronoun

Pronouns are categorized into many types. Main types of pronoun include: personal pronoun, possessive pronoun, indefinite pronoun, reflective pronoun, intensive pronoun, demonstrative pronoun, interrogative pronoun, and reflexive pronoun. All types of pronoun are elaborated below.

Personal Pronouns: Personal pronouns refer to a person’s name. We use personal pronouns to replace a person’s name in a sentence. There are two types of personal pronoun:  Subjective and objective pronouns. Subjective pronouns replace the subject in a sentence and include I, we, he, she, you, it, and they. Objective pronouns replace the object in a sentence and include me, him, her, us, you, it, and them.

Possessive pronoun: Possessive pronouns show ownership or possession. Possessive pronouns include yours, mine, his, hers, its, theirs, yours, your, my, her, his, its, their, our and ours.

Indefinite Pronoun: Indefinite pronouns refer to something that in not specific or definite; means do not refer to particular thing or person. Common examples are someone, somebody, something, no one, many, several, few, others, and both.

Relative Pronouns: A relative pronoun is a pronoun that relates the relative clause to another clause within a sentence. The most commonly used relative pronouns are whoever, who, that, whomever, which and whose.

Demonstrative Pronouns: Demonstrative pronouns take place of a noun that’s already been mentioned in a sentence. There are only Five demonstrative pronouns: those, these, this, that, such

Interrogative Pronouns: An interrogative pronoun is used specifically to ask a question. These pronouns start with “Wh”. Common interrogative pronouns are whose, what, whom, which, and who.

Reflexive Pronouns: Reflexive pronoun are a bit complex types of pronouns. It is a specific type of pronoun that is used for the object of a verb when it refers to the same noun as the subject of that verb. Reflexive pronouns end with “self” or “selves”. Common examples are  myself, himself, ourselves, etc.

Reciprocal Pronouns: We use reciprocal pronoun to identify a feeling/action that is reciprocated among two or more than two person/things. To understand, read this sentence: Joseph is laughing at Emma and Emma is laughing at Joseph. So can say that Joseph and Emma are laughing at each other. Here word each other is reciprocal pronoun.

Distributive Pronouns: Distributive pronoun describes a member of a group separately from the group and not collectively or including in that group. We use this pronoun to describe all the individual members of a particular group. Common examples of distributive pronouns are each, either, neither, every, everyone, none, and any.

WHAT IS A VERB?

The word that describes any type of action or state of something is verb. The verb is the most important element in parts of speech. It is the basic element of a predicate in a sentence. A sentence does not make sense without a verb in it.

Types of Verbs

These are the main kinds of verbs: auxiliary verbs, modal verbs, action verbs (transitive verbs and intransitive verbs), and reflexive verbs.

Auxiliary Verbs: Auxiliary verbs do not have active role like main verbs but they help the main verb in a sentence. Second name for auxiliary verbs is helping verbs. Auxiliary Verbs perform function like changing the tenses, mood or voice of a sentence. They also help in making negatives and interrogatives of sentences. Auxiliary Verbs are also simply called Auxiliaries. Common examples of auxiliaries are is, am, are, was, were, have, and do.

Modal Verbs: Modal verbs are in between category of auxiliaries and main verbs. Sometime they fall in the category of auxiliaries. Modal auxiliaries can just simply be called modals. We use modals before the ordinary verbs to show meanings such as possibilities, permission, certainty etc. Common examples of models are: Can, may, could, might, shall, will, would, should, ought, must

Action Verbs: Action verbs are the main verb that show any action. They create an image of the happening of an action in your mind. There are two kinds of action verbs: Transitive and Intransitive.

Transitive Verbs: Transitive verb has a direct object in a sentence. The verb should have some object on which action is performed. Look at the sentence: The batsman kicked the ball. The word kick is transitive verb.

Intransitive Verbs: The verb that does not have a direct object in a sentence. Look at example: The bell rings. Here word ‘rings’ is intransitive verb that does not has object.

Reflexive Verbs: Reflexive verbs has same subject and object. A reflexive verb refers back to the same thing or person. Example: John stays home himself.

 

WHAT IS AN ADVERB?

An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, a verb phrase, another adverb or an adjective in a sentence. It indicates time, manner, cause, place, or degree. The adverb also modifies an action in form of question such as where, when, how, or how much.

Examples of adverbs are swiftly, clearly, pretty, rather, before, after, later, twice, again, within, and away.

Types of Adverbs

Adverbs are categorized into many kinds, such as adverbs of time, adverbs of place, adverbs of frequency, adverbs of degree, adverbs of manner, adverbs of reason, relative adverbs, interrogative adverbs, adverbs of affirmation and negation.

Adverbs of Time: Adverbs of time tell us about time of the action performed. Adverbs of time includes ago, after, later, before, since, already, never, formerly, now, soon, etc.

Adverbs of Place: Adverbs of place tell us about where an action took place. Adverbs of place include here, there, away, out, in, up, within, etc.

Adverbs of Frequency: Adverbs of frequency tell us about how many times an action was performed. Adverbs of frequency are once, twice, often, again, seldom, always, frequently, rarely, etc.

Adverbs of Degree: Adverbs of degree tell us about to what degree some action happens. Adverbs of degree are too, almost, enough, rather, so, pretty, quite, altogether, partly, etc.

Adverbs of Manner: Adverbs of Manner give us information about manners of an action. Common examples of adverbs of manner are swiftly, obviously, wisely, well, so, gradually, etc.

Adverbs of Reason: Adverbs of reason state reason or cause of some happening. The common adverbs of reason are so, hence, because, therefore, etc.

Interrogative Adverbs: Interrogative adverbs are the verbs used to ask questions about an action. Example are when, why, how, and where.

 

WHAT IS AN ADJECTIVE?

An adjective modifies a noun, a noun phrase, or a pronoun by describing that noun in terms of description, identity or quantity. An adjective generally precedes the word which it modifies.

Examples of adjectives are red, handsome, tall, small, brown, sharp, slow, and beautiful.

Types of Adjective

Adjectives are categorized into many kinds, such as: Adjectives of quality, Adjectives of Quantity, Numeral Adjectives, Demonstrative Adjectives, Possessive Adjectives, and Interrogative adjectives.

Demonstrative Adjectives: The demonstrative adjectives this, these, that, those, and what are demonstrative adjectives that are used to modify nouns or noun phrases. Example:  This phone number is switched off, try another one.

Indefinite Adjectives: An indefinite adjective modifies a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase. Example: Many students were present during oath ceremony.

Adjectives of Quality: It describes type, quality, or degree, of a noun, a noun phrase or a pronoun. Adjectives of quality are also known as Descriptive Adjectives. Examples: big, ones, foolish,

Adjectives of Quantity: Adjectives of quality tell us about the quantity of a noun or pronoun. Common example words are: some, no, half, any, little, great, much, enough, sufficient

Adjectives of Number: Adjectives of number tell us about how many things or people are meant or the order of standing of people or things. These are also called numeral adjectives. There are of three kinds of numeral adjectives: one, two, three, etc. are definite numeral adjectives, first, second, third, etc. are indefinite numeral adjectives and every, each, either, neither are distributive numeral adjectives.

Demonstrative Adjectives: These adjectives point to a specific noun or pronoun. Common demonstrative adjectives are such, this, that, these, and those.

Interrogative Adjectives: Interrogative adjectives are used to ask questions like interrogative adverbs. But interrogative adjectives question about noun or pronoun.  There are only I three interrogative adjectives that are which  what and whose. 

Possessive Adjectives: Possessive adjectives, as the name suggests that they denote the ownership or possession of something. Example of possessive adjectives are my, our, its, your, her, his, and their.

WHAT IS A PREPOSITION?

A preposition is a word that refers to the position of the elements with reference to other elements. Technically defining, a preposition generally indicates the spatial, temporal, or logical relationship of its object to the rest of the sentence

The common examples of prepositions are: about,  after,  against,  above, along,  at,  before,  around, below, beside, but, by, between, down, during, for, from, except, in, inside, like,  of, into, off, on, out,  over, past, onto, and since.

Types of Preposition

There are five common types of prepositions: simple prepositions, double prepositions, compound prepositions, phrasal prepositions, and participle prepositions.

Simple Prepositions: We use simple prepositions to show a relation between nouns or pronouns. We also use them to join different parts of sentences and clauses. These are single word prepositions. Therefore, we also call it single preposition. Common examples are on, out, of, off, through, up, at, from, for, by, and till.

Double PrepositionsWhen we join two single prepositions, we get a double preposition. Therefore, they are called Double Prepositions. Common examples are into, onto, up till, throughout, up to, without, upon, and within.

Compound Prepositions: We form up a compound preposition by prefixing a preposition to nouns, adjectives or adverbs.  Unlike double prepositions, they are not formed by two single prepositions. Common examples are about, behind, along, before, across, beside, outside, and inside.

Phrasal Prepositions: Phrasal prepositions are phrases that join the noun or pronoun. These phrases express a single idea as a single unit. Common examples are in favour of, in addition to, according to, in spite of, owing to, and by means of.

Participle PrepositionsParticiple prepositions are the present participle forms of verbs. We use them without any noun or pronoun. Common example words are considering, during, concerning, barring, touching, pending, and notwithstanding.

WHAT IS A CONJUNCTION?

The word conjunction means concurrence, union, or coexistence. We use a conjunction to link words, phrases, clauses, and sentences to keep their relation. Conjunctions are also known as linking words conjunctions link words, phrases, clauses, and sentences with each other. 

Examples of conjunction are ‘and’, ‘when’, however’, ‘although’, and ‘meanwhile’.

 Types of conjunctions

Conjunctions are very limited word in parts of speech. However we categorize them into different types.

Coordinating Conjunctions: We use coordinating conjunction to join words, phrases, and independent clauses. Examples of coordinating conjunctions are: and, or, nor, so, for, but, and yet.

Subordinating Conjunctions: We use subordinating conjunction to link an independent clause to another dependent clause. The common examples of subordinating conjunctions are after, although, as, before, if, that, once, since, though, until, till, when, and where.

Correlative Conjunctions: We use correlative conjunctions to link two equivalent clauses or sentence elements and appear in pairs. The common examples of correlative conjunctions are either-or, neither-nor, not only – but also, both-and, so-as and whether-or.

Compound Conjunctions: Some compound expressions are also used as conjunctions. These compound expressions are known as compound conjunctions. Common compound conjunctions are as if, in order that, as well as, as soon as, as much as, even if, and provided that.

 

WHAT IS AN INTERJECTION?

Interjections are very different from other parts of speech because these words do not rely on what they mean but interjections convey sudden emotion in a sentence. It is only part of speech that has its own punctuation mark. All interjections are followed by exclamatory mark. Interjections are the only parts of speech which do not have any grammatical function in a sentence.

The words that are commonly used as interjections are: ouch, oh, hey, eh, good, and what!

Types of Interjections

Interjections are divided on bases of emotions. Below are the main types of interjections.

Interjections of happiness: Yay! Hurrah! Wow!

Interjections of surprise:  Oh! Ah! What!

Interjections of sorrow Alas! Ouch! Oops! Alas!

Interjections of greetings: Good morning! Hey! Hello!

Interjections of intention: Hey! Yo! Look! Listen!

Interjections of approval: Well done! Brilliant! Sure!

Interjections of shock: What!

Interjections of anger: Excuse me! 

Interjections in form of phrases

We also use interjections in common phrases. Some of the examples of interjection phrases are: What Goodness! What hell! Good Lord! Oh my God! Goodness gracious! What the heck!  Oh no! 

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