Parts of Speech


Words in sentence are divided into different kinds according to their function in it. We call them Parts of Speech. They are eight in number.
(i)                Noun
(ii)              Pronoun
(iii)            Adjective
(iv)            Verb
(v)              Adverb
(vi)            Preposition
(vii)          Conjunction
(viii)        Interjection

1. Noun
A word that we use for giving a name to a person ,place, thing, quality, idea or action is called a noun.

The little girl spoke sweetly to the stranger.

Girl and stranger are nouns here.
Similarly, Karim, Bangladesh, beauty, honesty, air, battle are all nouns.

2. Pronoun
A word that we use in place of a noun is called a Pronoun.

The little girl spoke sweetly to the stranger.
She gave him water to drink.

Here she is used for the little girl and is a pronoun. Similarly, him is used for the stranger and is also a pronoun. Other common pronouns are:
 I, we, you, he, she, they, it, me, us, them  etc.

3. Adjective
A word that is used to add something to the meaning of a noun is called an Adjective.

The little girl spoke sweetly to the tall stranger.

Little tells us something more about the girl: it is an adjective. Similarly, tall is used as an adjective for the noun stranger.

4. Verb
A verb is a word that tells us what somebody or something does, what state somebody or something is in or what is becoming of somebody or something.

The little girl spoke sweetly to the stranger.

Spoke here is a verb that tells us what the little girl did.

5. Adverb
An adverb qualifies or adds to the meaning of a verb or an adjective. It can also qualify another adverb or a preposition.

The little girl spoke sweetly to the stranger.

Sweetly here qualifies the verb spoke.

Look at this sentence:

The little girl spoke very sweetly to the very tall stranger.

Here very qualifies the adverb sweetly. Very also qualifies an adjective in very tall. In both places very is an adverb.

Look at this sentence now:

The little girl came straight into the room.

The word straight qualifies the preposition into; straight is, therefore an adverb here.

6. Preposition
A preposition is a word placed usually before a noun or noun phrase to show its relation to some other word or words in a sentence.

The little girl spoke sweetly to the stranger.

Here to is placed before the noun the stranger and tells the relation between him and the little girl; to is, therefore, a preposition.

7. Conjunction
A conjunction is a word that is used for joining words, phrases, clauses and sentences.

The little girl spoke sweetly to the stranger and gave him water to drink.

Here and joins two clauses
(i)                 The little girl spoke sweetly.
(ii)               (She) gave him some water.

So the word and is a conjunction.

Another example:

The little girl and her brother were polite to the stranger.  (and here connect two words).

8. Interjection
A word that we use to express some feeling of the mind is called interjection. An interjection is not connected with other words in the sentence but stands by itself.
 Alas! He has left us.
Bah! That’s nonsense.
Oh! So you are the trouble-maker.
Alas! Bah! Oh!  are sounds that express sudden feelings of regret , anger,  and surprise.

Other interjection is:

Hurray (for joy)
Oh, Alas, Ah (for regret, grief)
Tut-tut, bosh, pooh (for impatience, contempt, rebuke)
Eh (for surprise)
Wow (for admiration and wonder)
Bravo (for approval)
Hey (for calling attention)


Look at these sentences:

The doctor is on a round of the ward. (Noun)
A football is a round object. (Adjective)
The doctor went round the ward. (Preposition)
The minister rounded off his visit to his home town school. (Verb)
The sparrow flew round and round. (Adverb)

The word round in these sentences has been used in different ways. It is a noun in the first sentence, an adjective in the second and so on. Likewise, many other words in English can be used as different parts of speech.


 Point out the part of speech of the words in bold.

1.      I don’t know anything about it.
2.      George is the know of all the facts.
3.      The bus has to slow down at the crossing.
4.      The slow tortoise won the race against the hare.
5.      He told the driver to go slow.
6.      I had much difficulty in solving this problem.
7.      She liked her new dress very much.
8.      Let us give a thought to this problem.
9.      George thought over the matter.
10. The mechanic oiled the machine.
11. Put a stop to this nonsense!
12. It was a hard climb to the top.
13. The new boss is hard to please.
14. Don’t idle away your time.
15. Name some of the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia.

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