The 8 Basic Parts of Speech

While everyone else in eighth grade dreaded Mr. Hill’s grammar class, I looked forward to it. Being the slightly perfectionist-OCD type that I am, I appreciated being able to organize words, and loved the challenge of diagramming sentences. It was like being a grammar Nancy Drew.

Though this site doesn’t usually focus too much on the super technical aspects of grammar, it is very useful to be familiar with the eight basic parts of speech. These are the building blocks of the English language. Here they are, with examples:

  • Noun – A person, place or thing. Examples: chef, hospital, wine. If it’s a proper noun — a specific name — you capitalize it. For example: Charles Darwin, Tokyo, Eiffel Tower. >>> My cat, Michiko, loves to play with mice.
  • Pronoun – A word that replaces the exact noun. Examples: he, him, she, her, we, us. >>> She brought me a gift before I went to bed.
  • Adjective – Describes or modifies a noun. Examples: the, beautiful, old, purple, huge. >>> The tiny, furry, gray mouse was so cute!
  • Verb – An action. Examples: be, run, write, ask. >>>  Michiko dropped the mouse in my lap, but it did not move.
  • Adverb – Describes or modifies a verb, another adverb, or an adjective; it can describe how, or how often, something is done. Examples: really, well, slowly, sometimes. >>> Never shaking, I carefully picked up the quite-limp rodent.
  • Preposition – Describes where, or a relationship to a noun. Examples: to, from, across, with, at. >>>  I put the mouse in a dish on the table under the Indian painting.
  • Conjunction – Joins words and phrases. Examples: and, or, but. >>>  Neither Michiko nor I moved, and we stared at the mouse.
  • Interjection – An exclamation, often one word. Examples: Wow!, Hi!, Damn! (and other four-letter expletives). >>> Yay! We realized that the mouse was just a stuffed toy! Woo-hoo!
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