Parts of speech In English


category of words based on shared grammatical properties in a clause

Parts of speech [1] are types of word in grammar. There are many different word categories: they are called 'lexical categories'. The most common are these:[2]

Part of SpeechFunctionExample WordsExample Sentence(s)Notes
VerbIdentifies an action or state.(to) be, have, do, like, work, sing, can, mustLondon is a big city. I like London.
NounIdentifies a person, place or thing.pen, dog, work, music, town, London, teacher, JohnNew York City is very beautiful.
AdjectiveDescribes a noun.a/an, the, 2 (two), some, good, big, red, well, interestingThe cat is black and white.A/an, the, some, many are known as determiners.[3]
AdverbDescribes a verb, adjective or adverb.quickly, silently, well, badly, very, reallyThe giraffe eats slowly, but when he is veryhungry, he eats reallyquickly.Slowly describes the verb eat, very describes the adjective hungry and really describes the adverb quickly.
PronounReplaces a noun.I, you, he, she, some, itShe is very good at playing the piano.
PrepositionLinks a noun to another word.to, at, after, on, butThe dog is under the table.
The man ran over the bridge.
Under links the noun dog to the noun table.
Over links the verb ran to the noun bridge.
ConjunctionJoins clauses, sentences or words.and, but, when, or theI like apples andoranges, but I don't like grapes.
InterjectionShort exclamation.oh!, ouch!, hi!, wellOuch! That really hurt!

Verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and interjections are called open classes because they are parts of speech that can easily add new words. On the other hand, pronouns, prepositions, and conjunctions are closed classes because new words cannot be added easily. For example, since pronouns are a closed class, there are fairly few pronouns: I, me, my, mine, myself, you, your, yours, yourself, he, him, his, his, himself, she, her, her, hers, herself, it, it, its, its, itself, we, us, our, ours, ourselves, they, them, their, theirs, themselves. Since pronouns are used to replace whole noun phrases, there is no need to have many kinds of pronouns. Instead of saying "The Earl of Sandwich introduced the Earl of Sandwich's favorite food, the sandwich", one uses the pronoun "his" to replace "the Earl of Sandwich's" to make the sentence not repeat itself when it doesn't have to, thus the sentence becomes "The Earl of Sandwich introduced his favorite food, the sandwich". New nouns, on the other hand, can easily be made, and are constantly being added into the English language.

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