The Parts of Speech
The parts of speech are really what makes English grammar what is. The language is separated, or classified,
bythe function of the words or phrases within the greater context of the language.
For example, in English we have eight parts of speech: the verb, the noun, the pronoun, the adjective, the
adverb, the preposition, the conjunction, and the interjection.
The speech parts don't necessarily explain what the word is, it tells us more how the word is used. Many
words, that is the very same word, can be used as a noun or verb in one sentence, and then an
adjective in another.
Verbs are probably the most important parts of speech as they tell us information about the
subject of the sentence, that is, the one who is doing the action. We learn from verbs what actions are taking
place and what state the subject is in.
Nouns and pronouns name people, places, things, ideas etc., and can function
or act as sentence subjects, direct or indirect objects, complements, plus more.
Adverbs typically modify verbs although they can modify other adverbs, phrases and even
adjectives. Adverbs tell us the time, manner, place, degree, or even cause of actions occurring in a sentence.
Adjectives mostly modify nouns by describing, or identifying words. Many times they quantify
words as well.
Conjunctions, as the name implies, connect parts of sentences together. Phrases and clauses are
joined by conjunctions.
Prepositions are also parts of speech that connect words together. They mostly link nouns,
pronouns, and phrases, to other words in the same sentence.
Interjections usually show emotion, transition, or exclamation in sentences.
Parts of Speech - VERBS
For our purposes we will say that there are three main verb types. Transitive,
intransitive, and linking.
1.) A transitive verb passes action on to a direct object.
In other words, a tansitive verb requires an object.
Example: The dog
ate. (incomplete - doesn't have an object)
The example is incomplete because eat is a transitive verb which
typically requires an object. The dog ate what?
Example: The dog ate
a bone. (where bone is the object of the verb ate)
2.) Intransitive verbs do not indicate a transfer of action. Therefore,
they do not require an object.
Example: John went to the store for his mother. (went is intransitive, it does not require an
3.) A linking verb joins a subject with a word that
describes it. They don't express action, but they do connect the subject of the verb to additional
information about the subject.
Example: My cat seems
content to lie in the sun on our porch. (seems connects cats to what else is said about them; namely, they like
to lie in the sun on our porch.)
The other verb types of which the three mentioned above can be classified as include; main verbs, auxiliary
verbs, modal verbs, finite verbs, non-finite verbs, phrasal verbs, gerunds, and participles. There are others but
the above will suffice for our purposes.
For more information about parts
of speech and how they are classified click on the preceding link. For information on a variety of
grammar items, plus many free exercises designed to help you improve your knowledge of English grammar, please
visit our home page.
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