Parts of Speech: What Are They? How Many Are There?

It’s easy to lose yourself in the rulebook of English grammar. So start from the basics if you’re looking to polish your reading and writing skills. Understanding parts of speech is a great starting point.

Once you figure out how to use these individuals parts to convey your thoughts, the way you write, read, and speak will keep improving. Now let’s begin. What are these parts of speech I speak of?

These Are a Part and Parcel of Life

Grammar: Not just another brick in the wall

There are nine parts of speech. Think of them as bricks. To build a solid sentence, you need to know how to lay one brick on top of the other. The cool part is that you use every part of speech every day.

You just need to know when and how to use each part. This knowledge will be the cement that holds all your bricks together. The better the understanding, the stronger your sentence!

Nouns

Names of people, names of places, names of objects, names of animals, and feelings are common examples of nouns. Nouns can be touched or felt. They’re divided into the following categories:

  • Common Nouns
  • Proper Nouns
  • Collective Nouns
  • Count and Non-Count Nouns
  • Abstract Nouns
  • Possessive Nouns

Example

Rahul (proper noun) was holding a ball (common noun). Suddenly, a murder (collective noun) of crows filled the sky, and one crow snatched his ball. Rahul’s temper (abstract noun) rose. He spotted four wooden sticks (count noun) on the ground. He grabbed one of those sticks and chased the crow!

Each type of noun comes with its own set of rules. We’ll dive into the pool of knowledge and splash around once we begin the chapter on nouns.

Pronouns

Pronouns are pros at replacing nouns. These work in place of nouns to save us from sounding like a tape on repeat. They’re present in the following forms:

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

Example

Rahul (proper noun) was holding a ball (common noun). Suddenly, a murder (collective noun) of crows filled the sky, and one crow snatched his (object pronoun) ball. Rahul’s temper (abstract noun) rose. He (subject pronoun) spotted four wooden sticks (count noun) on the ground. He grabbed one of those sticks and chased the crow!

The pronouns you want to use will depend on the type of noun they replace. Their use also depends on where they’re located in a sentence. We’ll get to that when we cover pronouns like pros! Next.

Adjectives

Adjectives tell us more about nouns and pronouns: “Big tree,” “small chair,” and “smooth surface” are few of the many examples we use on a daily basis.

“Oh my god, that movie was boring,” “that guy is like sooo annoying,” and “crap, my boss is angry” are examples of how you can place adjectives at the end of the sentence. This too will be covered in great detail. For now, know that adjectives tell you about the qualities of a noun or pronoun.

Verbs

To do or not to do?

Verbs describe action. If your noun or pronoun does something, that something is the verb, the action. You cannot form a sentence without a verb. This part of speech is doubly important.

Here are a few examples of verbs in day-to-day sentences: “I lift every day, bro,” “The smartphone is slim!” “I don’t train at the gym,” and “She’s driving right now.” Verbs have many forms too:

  • Infinitive Form
  • Transitive Verbs
  • Intransitive Verbs
  • Linking Verbs
  • Auxiliary Verbs

Adverbs

If adjectives help describe nouns, adverbs add to the meaning of a verb. Here’s an example:

Rahul ran to the store

Rahul quickly ran to the store

In both cases, Rahul ran. But there’s one sentence that tells you how Rahul ran. He ran quickly: ran = verb and quickly = adverb.

Adverbs too have many forms: interrogative, conjunctive, and comparative (to name a few). We’ll cover each as the weeks go by. Right now, don’t focus on drilling these into your head. Just know that there are many ways to express an action.

Prepositions

If you guessed “it has something to do with positions,” you guessed correctly! An object could be placed above the cupboard, you could be suspended till further notice, or there could be an event at work.

In each case, there is a relation with space or time. So you could say that prepositions position nouns and pronouns, linking them with the rest of the sentence and providing additional information to the reader.

Conjunctions

Your sim card needs a connection. Your smartphone needs a WiFi connection. In the same way, your sentences need connections too. Conjunctions provide the links to hold your sentences together, and these links help you flow from one thought to the next (see what I did there?). The following are examples of conjunctions. I’m sure you’re familiar with each of them:

  • for
  • and
  • nor
  • but
  • or
  • yet
  • so

Conjunctions help you connect similar or different thoughts to give your writing simple and complex structures. You’ll discover a whole new way of framing your sentences once you understand how conjunctions help you connect!

Interjections

Interjections inject energy into a sentence. Here are a few examples:

Without interjectionWith interjection
I’m happyI’m happy!
Finally. The food is hereFinally! The food is here
Ah. I found the answerAh! I found the answer

This part of speech helps in adding an extra touch of emotion. Your readers won’t have any trouble in understanding the nature of your statement or sentence when you use interjections.

Articles

Articles are placed before nouns. You can use these to tell your readers whether you are referring to something specific or generic. There’s a difference between writing “the ball” and “a ball” or between writing “the umbrella” and “an umbrella.”

  • a
  • an
  • the

The articles a, an, and the are also known as determiners. We’ll determine how to use them in a later post.

Don’t Part Ways With the Parts of Speech

Ok, breathe. Yes, there’s a lot of ground to cover. But the specific use of the different parts of speech should excite you! I’ll be covering every topic, in depth, every week. So swing by if you feel up to the task, or make sure the resource you’re referring to explains each part. Until next time!


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Parts of Speech: What Are They? How Many Are There?
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Parts of Speech: What Are They? How Many Are There?
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Start from the basics if you're looking to polish your reading and writing skills. Understanding parts of speech is a great starting point.
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TheBarbell&TheGi
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