Parts of Speech

Verb: A word denoting action, occurrence, or existence

The President met with foreign diplomats on Tuesdays.

I will be presenting my research at the conference.


Noun: A word that names a person, place, thing, idea, animal, quality, or action.

Edwin, my brother, is a professional musician.

Students who study hard usually do well in Biology 101.


Pronoun: A word that takes the position of a noun and functions as nouns do.

He attended a luncheon in his honor on Wednesday.

Who went to lunch with you?


Adverb: A word that modifies verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

Susan reluctantly agreed to serve on my committee.

This beautifully illustrated manuscript is worth nearly $1 million.


Adjective: A word that modifies, qualifies, or describes nouns and pronouns.

A big brown dog jumped at me from behind the blue car.

The painting is truly spectacular.


Article: A type of adjective that is used before a noun: “The” (definite) and “A/An” (indefinite)

The bees that were on the flowers stung Kay.

A man gave us directions to the airport. (used with a consonant sound)

An article in the paper caught my attention. (used with a vowel sound)


Preposition: A word that establishes a relationship between its object and something else.

Jack sat beside Jill on the bus.

To get to Grandma’s house, we have to go over the river and through the woods.


Conjunction: A word that functions as a connector between words, phrases, and clauses.  

I work part-time although I don’t need money.

Alice needed to go to the dentist, so I drove her there.


Interjection: An exclamation expressing emotion.

Wow! Look at all the snow.

Ouch! That hurt.


Strategies for Identifying Parts of Speech

Verb: The word is probably a verb if:

  • You can use will, shall, can, could, may, might, must, should, or would in front of the word.


Noun: The word is probably a noun if:

  • You can make if plural or singular
  • You can make it possessive
  • You can place the words a, an, or the in front of it
  • It can follow a prepositional phrase


Pronoun: The word is probably a pronoun if:

  • You can substitute the word for a noun


Adjective: The word is probably an adjective if:

  • You can add er  or est  to the word
  • You can use more or most in front of it
  • You can use the words very or quite  in front of it


Adverb: The word is probably an adverb if:

  • There is an ly suffix
  • The word or phrase can be logically moved to another place in the sentence


Preposition: The word is probably a preposition if:

  • It is followed by a noun object


Conjunction: The word is probably a conjunction if:

  • The word serves as a connector between words, phrases, or clauses



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