How to Learn the Parts of Speech

Become a better writer and reader by learning the different parts of speech. The different parts of speech help form words to create complete sentences. The eight parts of speech are nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections or articles. You don't need to include each part in a sentence to be grammatically correct. Practicing writing and looking for the different parts of speech while reading will help you better understand the English language.

Open a book a read a paragraph. The paragraph can be in the beginning, middle or end of the book. You will be using this paragraph to help you identify the different parts of speech.

Look for all the nouns in the paragraph. A noun is a person, place or thing. For example, in the sentence "Mom ran errands," the word "Mom" is the noun. In this case "Mom" is a person. "Books," "New York City," "hamburger," "bus" and "California" are examples of other nouns. A noun can be singular or plural.

Find all the verbs in the paragraph. A verb is considered to be the heart of a sentence and shows action or the state of being. For example, in the sentence "Mom ran errands," "ran" is the verb, since that shows the action of the sentence.

Spot all the pronouns. Pronouns are words that are used instead of a noun. Words like "he," "she," "it," "them," "they," "him," "her" and "me" are all examples of pronouns. In the sentence "Mary took her mother to the store," the word "her" is a pronoun. In this case, "her" is referring to Mary.

Identify all the adjectives in the paragraph. Adjectives are words that describe a noun or pronoun. For example, in the sentence "The fat dog slept outside," the word "fat" describes the dog and is an adjective. The noun in the sentence is the "dog." Adjectives typically appear before the noun it describes, like fat dog, sleepy child, cold day. "Fat," "sleepy" and "cold" are all adjectives.

Look for all the words that give more information about verbs or adjectives in terms of time, frequency or manner. For example, in the sentence "The cat ran quickly after the mouse," the word "quickly" describes how the cat ran and is the adverb. An easy way to spot some adverbs is to find the words that end in "ly." Most, but not all, adverbs end with "ly."

Look for all the prepositions in the paragraph. A preposition shows relationships among other words in the form of direction, place, time, cause, manner or amount. For example, in the sentence "The family arrived by boat," the word "by" is a preposition because it shows the manner in which the family arrived. In the sentence "The movie starts at two o'clock," the preposition is "at" because it tells the time the movie starts. In the sentence, "The cat sat under the table," "under" is the preposition because it tells us where the cat sat. As a rule of thumb, prepositions are almost always written before a noun or pronoun.

Look for all the words that connect a word or group of words together. This is called a conjunction. Words like "and," "or," "but" and "so" are examples of coordinating conjunctions. In the sentence "Sarah and Melissa are best friends," the word "and" is the conjunction because it connects the two nouns, "Sarah" and "Melissa."

Look for "a," "the" and "an" in the paragraph. These three words are called interjections. They are used very often in the English language and provide some information about a noun. Interjections are also known as articles. Articles are always used with a noun. In the sentence "I sat in the chair," the word "the" is the interjection.

  • Every sentence must include a noun and a verb to be grammatically correct.
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About the Author

Shelby Winchell has worked as a journalist for more than seven years, covering the economy, political figures and celebrities for various websites. She has a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism.

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