Parts of Speech

Every word in English can be categorised according to its function and meaning. These categories are known as parts of speech.

A word can be a noun, an adjective or a pronoun depending on the role it plays in a sentence.

Parts of Speech

Parts of Speech

There are nine parts of speech:

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  1. Nouns
  2. Verbs
  3. Adjectives
  4. Adverbs
  5. Pronouns
  6. Articles
  7. Prepositions
  8. Conjunctions
  9. Interjections

Parts of Speech #1


A noun is a word which is used to name a person, a thing, a place or an idea.

Types of Nouns

Proper Noun: Proper nouns are specific names given to a person, place or thing. The first letter of each proper noun is capitalised.

  • Peter is a brilliant boy.
  • New York is a big city.

Common Noun: Common nouns are names which are generic names. They are the opposites of proper nouns.

  • The cow is a useful animal.
  • The dog is faithful to its master.

Collective Noun: Collective nouns are names given to groups or collections.

  • Who is the first boy in the class?
  • The man in the black coat was arrested by the police.

Material Noun: Material nouns are names given to materials or substances through which other things can be made.

  • These cups and plates are made of plastic.
  • We cannot live without water.

Abstract Noun: Abstract nouns are names given to entities which have no physical form but exist as ideas.

  • Honesty is the best policy.
  • Love is the strongest relationship.

Gerund/Verbal Noun (-ing’ nouns)

  • Swimming is good exercise.
  • I like reading books.

Parts of Speech #2


Pronouns are words used in place of a noun or a noun phrase.

Types of Pronoun

Personal Pronouns: They are pronouns which represent ‘persons’ in the grammatical sense.

  • 1st Person: I, me, mine, myself, we, us, ours, ourselves
  • 2nd Person: You, yours, yourself
  • 3rd Person: He, she, it, his, hers, its

Reflexive Pronouns: We use a reflexive pronoun when the actions of the subject affect itself.

  • Peter hurt himself.
  • John taught himself how to play the guitar.

Emphatic Pronouns: These pronouns may look like reflexive pronouns, but they have a completely different function. They are used for emphasis purposes only.

  • The principal herself will speak to you.
  • Norman himself was present at the function.

Demonstrative Pronouns: They are used to refer to or point at objects they refer to.

  • This is the best day of my life.
  • That is the pen I like the most.

Indefinite Pronouns: They are used to refer to persons or things in the general sense.

  • All are invited.
  • Some are not worthy of your friendship.

Distributive Pronouns: They are used to refer to people or things one at a time.

  • Each of the servants was thoroughly checked.
  • Neither of the women was qualified for the post.

Relative Pronouns: They are used to connect clauses or phrases to a noun or a pronoun.

  • This is the car that I bought.
  • This is the friend whose house I live in.

Parts of Speech #3


Adjectives are words which are used to describe nouns or pronouns. They can be used to describe the quality, quantity, size, age and function of the words they qualify.

  • The house is palatial.
  • Pamela is upset.

Types of Adjective

Adjectives of Quality: Adjectives of quality show the kind or quality of the noun or the pronoun.


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  • The tangerine was very huge.
  • John is a helpful neighbour.

Adjective of Quantity: Adjectives of quantity show the amount of the noun or the pronoun.

  • Shila has little patience with her work.
  • Peter has enough money to buy another laptop.

Adjective of Number: Adjectives of number show the number of the noun.

  • There are two birds in the cage.
  • I have a few friends in the football club.

Distributive Numeral Adjective: Distributive numeral adjectives are used to refer to members of a group individually.

  • Each boy went home after the birthday party.
  • Every day is a blessing.

Demonstrative Adjectives: They point towards the nouns they qualify for.

  • That flower is beautiful.
  • This boy is the culprit.

Interrogative Adjectives: They are used with nouns to ask questions.

  • Which pen do you want?
  • What time are you expected?

Parts of Speech #4


Verbs are words which represent actions or express the state of being. They form the main part of the predicate. Without verbs, the sentence will make little or no sense.

  • The boys and girls are walking to school.
  • Manik lives with his parents.

Types of Verbs

Transitive Verbs: Verbs which can take one or more objects are known as transitive verbs.

  • Lisa packed his bags.
  • Peter wrote a poem for his father.

Intransitive Verbs: Verbs which cannot take objects are known as intransitive verbs.

  • The child slept peacefully.
  • The bus arrived five minutes late.

Finite Verbs: A finite verb is that which has a subject and shows the tense in a sentence.

  • Nina has been working in this office for two years. (Nina – Subject; Tense – Present Perfect Continuous)
  • David is my dearest friend. (David – Subject; Tense – Simple Present Tense)

Nonfinite Verbs: A nonfinite verb is that which neither has a subject nor exhibits tenses in a sentence.

  • I wish to buy a flat in New York.
  • We found him sleeping soundly on his bed.

Main Verbs: A main verb is the primary verb of the sentence. It carries the meaning in the verb phrase which is the main part.

Helping or Auxiliary Verbs: Auxiliary Verbs are verbs that only help main verbs to form different verb forms. Auxiliary Verbs are important as structural verbs. It is always used before the main verb.

  • Mukhesh has been working here for two years.
  • The CEO would be available only after 5 pm.

The verbs which are highlighted are the main verbs. The verbs which are underlined are helping or auxiliary verbs.

Parts of Speech #5


An adverb is a word which qualifies a verb, an adjective or another adverb.

  • Cuckoos sing sweetly in spring.
  • The bus moved quite slowly.

Types of Adverbs

Adverbs of Manner: They describe the manner of the action.

  • Peter moved fast.
  • Lisa spoke softly.

Adverbs of Time: They describe when the action took place.

  • Come here now!
  • I met her today.

Adverbs of Place: They describe where the action took place.

  • We are everywhere.
  • They will meet us at the park.

Adverbs of Frequency: They describe how often the actions take place.

  • Nina often visits her grandparents.
  • Peter has never lied to his parents.

Adverbs of Degree or Quantity: They show how much or to what extent.

  • He is too tired to walk.
  • Alisha is very annoyed at me.

Adverbs of Affirmation or Negation: They express certainty and uncertainty; surety and unlikelihood; affirmation or negation.

  • I will surely call you tonight.
  • They will certainly go there.

Adverbs of Reason: They express the reason or purpose of an action.

  • David is hence the only suspect in this crime.
  • Escape was therefore the only option left to us.

Parts of Speech #6


A preposition is a word placed before a noun or noun equivalent to show its relationship to another word in the sentence.

Types of Prepositions

Simple Prepositions: Simple Prepositions are at, after, by, for, from, in, of, on, out, over, through, till, up, under, with, off, till, over, etc.

  • I put my keys on the table.
  • The plane flew over the mountains.

Double Prepositions: When a single preposition is not sufficient to express the sense, two simple prepositions are combined to express the sense completely. Some Double Prepositions are into, from among, from within, from behind, over against, out of, etc.

  • He was chosen from among a group of talented musicians.
  • The cat emerged from within the bushes.

Compound prepositions: Compound prepositions are formed by combining two or more words to form a new proposition. Compound prepositions are usually formed by prefixing a preposition with a noun, an adjective, or an adverb.

Some examples of Compound prepositions are as follows:

  • across (= on + cross),
  • amidst (= on + middle),
  • behind ( = by + hind),
  • about (= on + by + out),
  • above (= on + by + up),
  • before (= by + fore)
  • beneath (= by + neath),
  • between (=by + twain),
  • beyond (= by + yonder),
  • but (= by + out, except)

Participle Prepositions: Some present or past participles such as considering, concerning, regarding, pending, notwithstanding, etc. are used as prepositions. These words are known as Participle Prepositions.

  • Notwithstanding her boss’s criticism, the employee submitted her report.
  • Regarding this matter, I cannot provide any additional information.

Phrase Prepositions: When a phrase begins and ends with a Preposition (of, at. by. with, from, over etc.) it is called a Prepositional Phrase.

Some common Phrase Prepositions are – On the eve of, In consequence of, In the place of, In company with, At enmity with, In keeping with, In prospect of, Because of, By force of, In pursuit of, With an eye to, By the side of, By means of, etc.

  • He left the room in the middle of the discussion.
  • In comparison with her previous job, her new position had better benefits.

Disguised prepositions: When the prepositions ‘on‘ and ‘of‘ are changed, into ‘a‘ and ‘o‘ respectively they are called Disguised prepositions; as

This fair is held once a year” – “A” is used here as a shortened form of “on,” indicating that the fair is held on a yearly basis.

“It’s ten o’clock now” – “O” is used here as a shortened form of “of,” indicating that the time is ten hours of the clock.

Parts of Speech #7


Conjunctions that join the clauses are subdivided into two main classes –

Types of Conjunctions

  • Co-ordinating
  • Subordinating

Coordinating Conjunctions

They are used to connect sentences, phrases or clauses of equal rank. Coordinating Conjunctions are of four types 

  • Cumulative – and, both….and, also, too, as well as, not only….but also, no less than
  • Alternative – or, either….or, neither….nor, otherwise, else
  • Adversative – but, still, yet, however, nevertheless, only, whereas,
  • Illative – so, for, therefore, then

Subordinating Conjunctions

They are used to connect clauses that are not of equal rank. One clause depends on another to complete its meaning. Subordinating conjunctions indicate time, place, cause, effect, purpose, manner, condition, comparison, apposition, and contrast.

  • Apposition – that, why, how
  • Reason – as, because
  • Purpose – that, so that, in order that
  • Effect – that
  • Condition – if, provided
  • Contrast – though, although
  • Comparison – as, as much as, no less than
  • Manner – as, so far as
  • Time – before, after, when
  • Place – where, wherever

Parts of Speech #8


Interjections are words used to express emotions such as happiness, sadness, surprise or disgust.

  • Wow! This view is breathtaking!
  • Oh no! I forgot my keys again.
  • Yikes! That was a close call.
  • Hooray! We won the game!
  • Oops! I spilt coffee on my shirt.

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Also, Read

Time and Tense

Time and Tense







Nominal Compound

Nominal Compound

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