The Parts of Speech and Their Functions

factory pencil

A sentence, or a combination of words that express a thought, is composed of various parts of speech. They are verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. The following is a simple explanation of each. For a more detailed description, see HyperGrammar below.

The Eight Parts of Speech

A verb tells us something about the subject in the sentence. It is the action word or it expresses states of being.

Examples: reduce, reuse, recycle, is, was

A noun names a person, animal, place, thing, or abstract idea.

Examples: man, cat, house, freedom

A pronoun can be used to replace nouns or another pronoun. For example, if we're talking about someone named John, we can replace his name with the pronoun he.

Examples: he, she, you, I, we, they

An adjective describes a noun or pronoun by changing it in some way. It usually comes before the noun or pronoun.

For example, someone might say, "That's a tall tree."

Examples: small, red, heavy, thick

An adverb changes a verb, adjective, or another adverb to show manner, time, place, cause, or degree.

Examples: slowly, heavily, costly, happily

A preposition is used to link nouns, pronouns, and phrases to other words in a sentence.

Examples: above, against, around, between, of, from, for, onto, through

A conjunction is a connection word, which joins together sentences. It is also used to link clauses of a sentence or words.

Examples: and, but, or, for, so

An interjection is used to add emotion to a sentence. It is not related to other parts of a sentence, and it is usually followed by an exclamation mark.

Examples: Oh! Oops! Hey!

For more detailed information about the parts of speech, visit the University of Ottawa Writing Centre Web site, HyperGrammar.

© 2006 Marilyn J. Brackney

Volume 18 No. 3a

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