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Grammar: Main Parts of Speech

Definitions and examples, common endings, placement and position of adjectives and adverbs, main parts of speech video playlist, writing tools: dictionary and thesaurus refresher video, related resources, knowledge check: main parts of speech.

The name of something, like a person, animal, place, thing, or concept. Nouns are typically used as subjects, objects, objects of prepositions, and modifiers of other nouns.

This expresses what the person, animal, place, thing, or concept does. In English, verbs follow the noun.

This describes a noun or pronoun. Adjectives typically come before a noun or after a stative verb, like the verb "to be."

Remember that adjectives in English have no plural form. The same form of the adjective is used for both singular and plural nouns.

This gives more information about the verb and about how the action was done. Adverbs tells how, where, when, why, etc. Depending on the context, the adverb can come before or after the verb or at the beginning or end of a sentence.

This word substitutes for a noun or a noun phrase (e.g. it, she, he, they, that, those,…).

This word makes the reference of the noun more specific (e.g. his, her, my, their, the, a, an, this, these, … ).


This comes before a noun or a noun phrase and links it to other parts of the sentence. These are usually single words (e.g., on, at, by ,… ) but can be up to four words (e.g., as far as, in addition to, as a result of, …).


A word that joins two clauses. These can be coordinating (an easy way to remember this is memorizing FANBOYS = for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) or subordinating (e.g., because, although, when, …).

Auxiliary Verbs

Helping verbs. They are used to build up complete verbs.

Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs often have unique word endings, called suffixes . Looking at the suffix can help to distinguish the word from other parts of speech and help identify the function of the word in the sentence. It is important to use the correct word form in written sentences so that readers can clearly follow the intended meaning.

Here are some common endings for the basic parts of speech. If ever in doubt, consult the dictionary for the correct word form.

Common Noun Endings

Common verb endings, common adjective endings, common adverb endings, order of adjectives.

If more than one adjective is used in a sentence, they tend to occur in a certain order. In English, two or three adjectives modifying a noun tend to be the limit. However, when writing in APA, not many adjectives should be used (since APA is objective, scientific writing). If adjectives are used, the framework below can be used as guidance in adjective placement.

For example:

Commas With Multiple Adjectives

A comma is used between two adjectives only if the adjectives belong to the same category (for example, if there are two adjectives describing color or two adjectives describing material). To test this, ask these two questions:

If the answer is yes to the above questions, the adjectives are separated with a comma. Also keep in mind a comma is never used before the noun that it modifies.

Position of Adverbs

Adverbs can appear in different positions in a sentence.

More Detailed Rules for the Position of Adverbs

Note that these videos were created while APA 6 was the style guide edition in use. There may be some examples of writing that have not been updated to APA 7 guidelines.

Note that this video was created while APA 6 was the style guide edition in use. There may be some examples of writing that have not been updated to APA 7 guidelines.

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Part of Speech

Parts of a sentence: the clause.

In grammar, the sentence is the smallest independent unit which expresses a complete thought. Perhaps, you already know that there are three basic kinds of sentence structures namely: Simple sentence Compound Sentence Complex Sentence One of the similarities of the three kinds mentioned above is that all of them are made up of at least one […]

What Part of Speech is “LIKE”?

In English texts and everyday communication, the word “like” serves a variety of purposes. It can act as an adjective, a preposition, an adverb, a conjunction, a noun, or a verb. Adjective This word is classified under adjectives if it is used to modify a noun or a pronoun by indicating similarities in qualities or […]

What Part of Speech is “IF”

In written and spoken English, the word “if” serves a double purpose. It can either be used as a conjunction or as a noun. Conjunction This word is most commonly used as a conjunction because it can connect two clauses to form a single sentence by presenting the conditional clause. Furthermore, the word “if” can […]

What Part of Speech is “VERY”

Just like many words in the English language, the word ”very” also serves a double function. It can be used as an adverb or an adjective depending on the context. Adverb This word is categorized as an adverb if it is used to modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb in a particular sentence. […]

What Part of Speech is “WHAT”

In English texts and verbal communication, the word what also have various functions. It can be used as a adjective, an adverb, a pronoun, or an interjection. Adjective This word is commonly classified as an adjective if it is used to introduce a noun or a noun phrase. In the sample sentence below: What time […]

What Part of Speech is “ABOUT”

In the English language, the word “about” has multiple purposes. It can be used as a preposition, an adverb, or an adjective. Preposition This word can be categorized as a preposition when it is used to indicate movement to a specific location, or, the subject of something written or spoken. For example, in the sentence […]

What Part of Speech is “AT”

In the English language, the word “at” has only a single function. This common word is used as a preposition. Preposition This word can be classified as a preposition because it can be used to indicate position in time or place. For instance, in the sample sentence below: My kids go to bed at nine […]

What Part of Speech is “ON”

In English texts and daily conversations, the word “on” can be used for different purposes. It can be used as a preposition, an adverb, or an adjective. Preposition This word is commonly used as a preposition because it can help state the location or the date. For example, in the sentence below: The gun is […]

What Part of Speech is “FROM”

In the English language, the word “from” is very commonly used. At all times, this word serves as a preposition.  Preposition “From” is categorized under prepositions because it can be used to indicate the time or location. For example, in the sentence below: The accident occurred 10 meters from the intersection. The word “from” is […]

What Part of Speech is “WHO”

In English texts and verbal communication, the word “who” is always used as a pronoun. Pronoun In all cases, the word “who” acts as a pronoun because it can take the place of a noun. It can be used to ask a question about which person, or it can also start the clause that provides […]

Programmers do it, why don’t you?

Programmers have been using syntax highlighting to improve their code for quite some time. Highlighting syntax provides you with a more structured view on your code and it helps you spot typos. Can highlighting adjectives, adverbs, verbs, nouns, and conjunctions improve your writing style?

All writers make mistakes. What makes us blind to our own writing errors, is, as Stephen King said, the fear of writing:

I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing. If one is writing for one’s own pleasure, that fear may be mild—timidity is the word I’ve used here. If, however, one is working under deadline—a school paper, a newspaper article, the SAT writing sample—that fear may be intense.

The fear of writing crap will create a bias that hides the mistakes from your consciousness. A tool that highlights parts of speech will counter this bias. Everyone can use help with highlighting parts of speech because everyone fears writing.

“The adverb is not your friend”

If you care about writing, you need to treat adverbs like monsters. When it comes to monsters and writing Stephen King has the best tips:

Adverbs, you will remember from your own version of Business English, are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They’re the ones that usually end in -ly. Adverbs, like the passive voice, seem to have been created with the timid writer in mind. With the passive voice, the writer usually expresses fear of not being taken seriously; it is the voice of little boys wearing shoe polish mustaches and little girls clumping around in Mommy’s high heels. With adverbs, the writer usually tells us he or she is afraid he/she isn’t expressing himself/herself clearly, that he or she is not getting the point or the picture across.

Kill the adverb monsters. Then kill the adjective monsters.

“Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs.”

Loved by the amateur, hated by the experienced writer, and handled with delicacy by the pro, the adjective is one of the cheapest and at the same time most expensive stylistic element in writing. Handled with mastery it will make your writing shine and make it classy. Thrown there without care can cost you dearly.

“Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs. The adjective hasn’t been built that can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place. This is not to disparage adjectives and adverbs; they are indispensable parts of speech.”–Strunk & White

If you care about grammar you will notice that writers and writing teachers diss adjectives and adverbs with adjectives and adverbs:

“Adjectives are frequently the greatest enemy of the substantive.” – Voltaire “Use no superfluous word, no adjective, which does not reveal something.” – Ezra Pound “[Whoever writes in English] is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective.” – George Orwell “[I was taught] to distrust adjectives as I would later learn to distrust certain people in certain situations.” – Ernest Hemingway “The adjective is the banana peel of the parts of speech.” – Clifton Paul Fadiman “[The adjective] is the one part of speech first seized upon and worked to death by novices and inferior writers.” – J.I. Rodale “When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them — then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when close together. They give strength when they are wide apart.” – Mark Twain “Most adjectives are also unnecessary. Like adverbs, they are sprinkled into sentences by writers who don’t stop to think that the concept is already in the noun.” – William Zissner

In the examples above, just one author managed to completely avoid adjectives and adverbs. Can you spot it? Friends of the adjective and the adverb cry foul and accuse critiques of “Do as I say, not as I do”. If you go through the above examples you will see that the adverbs and adjectives used by masters carry meaning. What they oppose is adjectives that bloat. Strunk and White do not oppose a grammatical category, they oppose unnecessary words. There are three solid reasons to delete adjectives:

And this leads to an often misunderstood rule. Reading handbooks about writing you will often encounter the rule that you should avoid repetition, especially when it comes to nouns.

Repeat Nouns Consciously

Letters repeat, words repeat. When we speak we use identical words over and over. And there is nothing wrong with that. In contrary. Avoiding repetition at all cost will destroy your voice and turn writing into a gauntlet. Using the right word depends on whether

Repetition strengthens the structure if it is constructed consciously and with emotion. It can be applied as a rhetorical device. But in the same way, fear will hide our mistakes from our eyes and hearts, unwanted repetition will slip past the cracks and turn your text into a word mill. Nouns are the subject and object of your speech. If you speak or write coherently, you are forced to use and reuse the same nouns and names. Highlighting your nouns will help you canning the text for its nominal structure and find unwanted repetition. Unwanted repetition creates unwanted coherence. Which leads us to the last but not least part of speech…

Conjunctions seem harmless…

…but you may have heard that you should avoid starting a sentence with it. But why not? you may ask. “But” is only one out of a series of coordinating conjunctions that need to be handled with care. There are more:

Conjunctions join words, phrases, and clauses. Therefore p Putting conjunctions at the beginning of a sentence needs to be done with heart and mind. The worst thing you can do with them is—you guessed it—using them without mind or heart, using them without thinking or caring about them, using them without meaning them. When you apply conjunctions to suggest a logic that does not exist. Good thinking is logical. Fake logic, more than fake adjectives, unwanted repetition or weak verbs is one of the hardest things to spot. Let’s start with an easy example:

I think you are wrong. Therefore, I’m right.

What is wrong with “therefore”? Unless used with intentional humor, therefore requires a stringent logic beyond a reasonable doubt. “I think you are wrong therefore I’m right.” is far from logical. “I am right” needs more proof than, “I think you are wrong.” A lot of these mistakes go back to logical fallacies like:

But most often, conjunctions are just put in sentences without any connection at all.

He was quite tall, however, I never thought that he was particularly smart

Being tall and being smart are completely unrelated. Pointing out examples may sound sounds funny, but we often use false connectors unknowingly. When we speak we use them as fillers or to communicate coherence. In writing, we need to be more careful. The literal word cannot hide behind tone and apply to logical benevolence.

To be or not to be is not the question: Pump up the Jam!

The verb to be is weak because it only conveys existence it does not show movement. Weak verbs indicate passive voice and nominal style. Avoid them all. Weak verbs are lame take the dynamic out of freeze the sentence. They lead to paint a static image dominated by nouns, “has” and “is”. “Use strong verbs, avoid weak verbs” is easier said than done. In practice, you will often end up rethinking the phrase and find a way to describe your thought through movements rather than describing a photograph.

The easiest way t To spot weak verbs is to highlight them. It shocks when you realize how lame your verbs are.

How do I catch all of them?

Code editors highlight code syntax. Highlighting code syntax helps coders understanding structure and spot structural mistakes. Highlighting parts of speech in a text editor fulfills a similar function. Syntax highlight helps you spotting stylistic errors such as bloat through adjectives and adverbs, illogical conjunctions, weak verbs and repetitive nouns. Try it.

Naval Postgraduate School

Graduate Writing Center

Parts of speech - graduate writing center.

Parts of Speech

The  parts of speech —noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction—are the building blocks of writing.  We don't need to know every detail about these types of words to write—any more than we need to know exactly how each part of our car's engine works to drive. However, we  do need to know enough to recognize when something needs repair!

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Handout: " Qualifiers ," UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center

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The Write Practice

Parts of Speech: The 9 Types of Words You Need to Write In English

by Alice Sudlow | 0 comments

What is a part of speech? In this article, I define the grammatical term, part of speech, list the nine parts of speech, and describe each one using examples. Finally, I give a creative writing exercise to help you cement your knowledge of parts of speech immediately.

Definition of Parts of Speech

Parts of speech describe the nine types of words based on how they function in a sentence, including nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, articles, conjunctions, interjections, and prepositions.

Full List of Parts of Speech

There are nine parts of speech:

Ready to practice using the parts of speech? Let's put this lesson to practice with the following creative writing exercise .

To practice using all nine parts of speech, use the following writing prompt :

A child is trying to choose and then purchase a gift for his or her mother. Using all nine parts of speech, write for fifteen minutes about the child's decision about the perfect gift.

When your time is up, go back and check to make sure you have all nine parts of speech. Then, post your practice in the comments section for feedback. And if you post, be sure to give feedback to at least three other writers.

Good luck and happy writing!

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Alice Sudlow

Alice Sudlow is the Editor-in-Chief of The Write Practice and a Story Grid certified developmental editor. Her specialty is in crafting transformative character arcs in young adult novels. She also has a keen eye for comma splices, misplaced hyphens, and well-turned sentences, and is known for her eagle-eyed copywriter skills. Get her free guide to how to edit your novel at alicesudlow.com .

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WordType Logo

This tool allows you to find the grammatical word type of almost any word.

Related Searches

What type of word is ~term~ .

Unfortunately, with the current database that runs this site, I don't have data about which senses of ~term~ are used most commonly. I've got ideas about how to fix this but will need to find a source of "sense" frequencies. Hopefully there's enough info above to help you understand the part of speech of ~term~ , and guess at its most common usage.

For those interested in a little info about this site: it's a side project that I developed while working on Describing Words and Related Words . Both of those projects are based around words, but have much grander goals. I had an idea for a website that simply explains the word types of the words that you search for - just like a dictionary, but focussed on the part of speech of the words. And since I already had a lot of the infrastructure in place from the other two sites, I figured it wouldn't be too much more work to get this up and running.

The dictionary is based on the amazing Wiktionary project by wikimedia . I initially started with WordNet , but then realised that it was missing many types of words/lemma (determiners, pronouns, abbreviations, and many more). This caused me to investigate the 1913 edition of Websters Dictionary - which is now in the public domain. However, after a day's work wrangling it into a database I realised that there were far too many errors (especially with the part-of-speech tagging) for it to be viable for Word Type.

Finally, I went back to Wiktionary - which I already knew about, but had been avoiding because it's not properly structured for parsing. That's when I stumbled across the UBY project - an amazing project which needs more recognition. The researchers have parsed the whole of Wiktionary and other sources, and compiled everything into a single unified resource. I simply extracted the Wiktionary entries and threw them into this interface! So it took a little more work than expected, but I'm happy I kept at it after the first couple of blunders.

Special thanks to the contributors of the open-source code that was used in this project: the UBY project (mentioned above), @mongodb and express.js .

Currently, this is based on a version of wiktionary which is a few years old. I plan to update it to a newer version soon and that update should bring in a bunch of new word senses for many words (or more accurately, lemma).

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Reading & Writing Center

Parts of Speech

Every word belongs to a category of similar words; these categories are called parts of speech. Some words can belong to more than one part of speech depending on how they are used; for example, help can be an action or a thing. Below are descriptions major parts of speech, plus some special sub-categories of each one. You can browse through the categories or click on the links below to go the one you are interested in.

The major parts of speech are:

Nouns describe a person, place or thing. 

Examples: Michelle Gonzales, doctor, friend, Joey, Americans, Livermore, bedroom, restaurant, table, dog, freedom

Joey   goes to   school   in Livermore .   Michelle Gonzales   is his   teacher .   Ms. Gonzales   taught   him   that   Americans   must value their   freedom .

Special Types of Nouns

Pronouns : general nouns that stand in for specific ones

Examples: he, she, it, I, you, we, hers, us, their

Proper nouns :  formal names that must be capitalized

Examples: Marty Nash, California, Joanna, Las Positas College, French

Joanne has been studying French because she would like to travel to France with us .

Verbs describe   an action or state of being. Verbs tells what a subject (usually a noun) does or is. 

Examples of action verbs: run, swim, prefer, contemplate, hit, kiss, think, imitate, reflect

Examples of being/linking verbs: is, was, were, became, seems

My sister has been  very healthy since she was  a teenager. She runs three miles every morning. She prefers vegetarian food because she believes that it is healthier than meat. Her health seems better since she started these good habits.

Adjectives are   words that describe nouns. 

Examples :  beautiful, intelligent, purple, obnoxious, funny, confusing, delicious, abstract, excellent

Ruben is an intelligent man who has an excellent sense of humor. I would like to introduce him to my wonderful  friend Celine because they both enjoy long novels and sweet desserts.

Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, or adverbs.

Examples of adverbs that describe vebs: quickly, hungrily, quietly, yesterday, sadly, outside, forever, well

Anita was very smart and extremely athletic. Her favorite sport was soccer, and she hoped to play forever . She could run quickly and pass well .


Conjunctions are linking words. There are two types of conjunctions:

Coordinating conjunctions  link two ideas equally.

Examples: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so 

Sophia loves dogs   and   cats. I love pets,   but   I am allergic to most of them.

Subordinating conjunctions  link two ideas making one more important than the other.

Examples: because, although, when, which, if, while

Michelle can't eat nuts   because   she is allergic to them.   Although   she is allergic, she still loves nuts and wishes she could eat them.


Prepositions pair with a noun or noun phrase (a noun plus description) to add detail to the sentence. 

Examples: to, from, on, between, of, during, despite, against, beside

Despite Pete's nervousness, he swung at the ball with his bat. It went flying over the fence and into the crowd.


Interjections are words expressing emotion. 

Examples: wow, yikes, ouch, yum, good greif, well, hey, oh no

Good greif , I am exhausted. You think your job is hard, huh ? Well , my job is delivering weights to gyms. Wow , those are heavy!

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Parts of Speech

Related Pages

What are Parts of Speech?

Words are categorized by their grammatical function. These categories are referred to as the parts of speech.

Listed below are the nine parts of speech:

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Grammar For Beginners: All About Parts Of Speech

Writers Write creates and shares resources for business and creative writers. This post is all about Parts Of Speech.

All About Parts Of Speech

Two years ago, we ran a series called Grammar for Beginners. For today’s post, we have included links to all the parts of speech in one post.

What Are Parts Of Speech?

In language, parts of speech are categories of words based on their function in a sentence. A part of speech is also sometimes known as a word class. Words are the building blocks of language and we need to know how to use them when we write.

According to Wikipedia : ‘In traditional grammar, a part of speech (PoS or POS) is a category of words (or, more generally, of lexical items) that have similar grammatical properties. Words that are assigned to the same part of speech generally display similar syntactic behaviour—they play similar roles within the grammatical structure of sentences—and sometimes similar morphology in that they undergo inflection for similar properties.’

There are eight parts of speech in English: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and articles. Each shows the function of the word as well as how it is used grammatically in the sentence.

Why Do We Need To Know About Them?

Words become sentences . Sentences become paragraphs. Paragraphs become essays, reports , articles, resumes , short stories , and novels. If we understand the functions of words, our ability to write well improves.

The Parts Of Speech:

Please click to find out more about them:

Use this list to help you understand the function of each word in a sentence.

[Top Tip: If you need help with your grammar, buy The Complete Grammar Workbook .]

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