Parts of Speech

Intro: In a sentence, every word has a role to play. Some words describe things, other words express action, and some help us connect one idea to another. These roles, or parts, are called the parts of speech. Knowing the parts of speech helps us determine what a word is doing in a sentence. There are eight parts of speech:

Nouns: A word that identifies a person, place, or thing is a noun. Nouns that describe general people, places or things are called common nouns. Nouns that provide the name of specific person, place or thing are called proper nouns, and should be capitalized.


  • phone, computer, bike, teacher (common nouns)
  • Blackberry, Macintosh, Huffy, Mr. Farmerson (proper nouns)

Verbs: Verbs are words that express action. Verbs are devided into two categories, action verbs, and “state-of-being verbs” (which are: helping verbs and linking verbs). Action verbs express physical actions. State-of-being verbs express emotional or mental states.         


  • Be, feel, think, believe, sense, was, were (linking verbs)
  • Run, jump, eat, live, call, play (action verbs)
  • Jason Varitek hit a home run. (action verb)
  • Lennie likes to feel soft things like fabric and fur. (action verb)
  • Joan went to Boston because she didn’t feel like going home. (linking verb)
  • He has been playing saxophone for seventeen years (helping verbs)

Adjectives: Adjectives are words that describe nouns. We say that adjectives modify nouns because they can change the way we perceive the noun. Adjectives can appear before or after the nouns they modify.


  • We ordered a fresh pizza.
  • Mr. Farmerson bought a new phone.
  • Sal painted the old fence red.

Pronoun: A pronoun is a word that stands in place of noun when you don’t want to repeat yourself. Always make sure you are using the pronoun clearly. The pronouns are:

        I, me, we, us, you, she, her, he, him, it, they, and them.

The sentence below is less repetitive when you replace the second “Danny” and “book” with pronouns:

BAD: Danny finished his book so Danny put the book away.
BETTER: Danny finished his book so he put it away.

Adverbs:  Adverbs describe verbs or other adjectives. While nouns answer the questions who and what, adverbs answer the questions how, when, why, and where.

Most, but not all, adverbs end in –ly.  


  • He waved wildly to get her attention. (modifies action verb)
  • The shirt he wore to the party was extremely bright. (modifies adjective)
  • The grapes tasted sour. (modifies linking verb and appears after it)

Prepositions:  A preposition relates nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence. A preposition creates a relationship between the word the preposition introduces, called the object of the preposition, and the rest of the sentence. The relationship can create a sense of time, space, direction, or reason.

        A prepositional phrase is made up of the preposition, its object and any associated adjectives, adverbs or articles.


In these examples, the prepositional phrase is underlined, the preposition is in bold, and the object is italicized.

  • The fruit is on the table 
  • The boat sailed under the large bridge.
  • Brush your teeth before you sleep.
  • The movie is about scary vampires.

There are lots of prepositions. Here are some of the most common:

about, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, but, by, despite, down, during, except, for, from, in, inside, into, like, near, of, off, on, onto, out, outside, over, past,  since, through, throughout, till, to, toward, under, underneath, until, up, upon, with, within, and without.

Conjunctions:  A conjunction is a word that joins words, phrases or clauses together. The common conjunctions are and, but, for, or, nor, so, and yet. Use these words to make a connection between two or more complete ideas.


  • I liked the new smartphone I saw, but I couldn’t afford it.
  • James could buy a motorcycle or use the money to pay for college.
  • This weekend Peg went to the movies and she shopped at Hot Topic.

Articles:  An article is the little word that sometimes comes before a noun. Aan, and the are the most common articles. The is called a definite article because it means the noun is unique. A and an are called indefinite articles, because they mean that the noun can be one of many.


  • Glan Filament plays for a basketball team. (indefinite article)
  • Glan Filament plays for the Boston Celtics. (definite article)
  • Glan Filament is an excellent player. (indefinite article)

Here is a link to the PDF worksheet: Parts of Speech



One thought on “Parts of Speech

  1. Pingback: Grammar: Due Thursday, January 8 | Ford's House

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