The 9 Types of Parts of Speech: Definitions, Rules and Examples

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What are the Parts of Speech in English?

There are nine parts of speech in English. Together, these parts of speech provide the building blocks for creating meaning in language:

  • Nouns
  • Verbs
  • Adjectives
  • Adverbs
  • Pronouns
  • Prepositions
  • Conjunctions
  • Articles and Determiners
  • Interjections

Each part of speech serves a different purpose and can be used in different ways. For example, a noun is a word that represents a person, place, thing, or idea. A verb is a word that expresses an action or state of being. An adjective modifies a noun or pronoun, while an adverb modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb. Pronouns take the place of nouns and can function as the subject or object of a sentence. Prepositions show relationships between words in a sentence. Conjunctions join words or groups of words together. Interjections are exclamatory words or phrases that express strong emotion.

What is the Definition of Parts of Speech?

The context in which the word is used will determine its function. Parts of speech are an important part of language learning, as they help students to understand how sentences are constructed and how meaning is conveyed. Most of us are familiar with the parts of speech: noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection. They are the categories into which words are classified according to their function in a sentence. Learning about parts of speech can also help students to improve their writing skills by using more accurate and varied sentence structures.

For example, ” cat” is a noun, and ” quickly” is an adverb. The direct objects can be divided into two main groups: content words and structure words. Content words include nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. These are the words that carry the meaning in a sentence.

Open and Closed Word Classes

There are two main types of parts of speech, or word classes: open and closed. Open word classes, also known as content words, include nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. They are so called because they can have new members added to them (open class), as opposed to closed word classes (e.g. prepositions, conjunctions, determiners), which are much more limited in number (closed class).

Open word classes are usually more central to the meaning of a sentence than closed classes, which often just provide grammatical information. For example, in the sentence “The big dog barked,” the words “big” and “dog” are more essential to the meaning of the sentence than the word “the,” which simply tells us that we are talking about a specific dog. However, all parts of speech are important in creating well-formed sentences.

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The 9 Parts of Speech


A noun is a word that refers to a person, place, thing, or idea. Nouns are often used as the subject or object of a sentence. They can be used as the object of a verb (I saw the cat) or a preposition (We walked in the park). Types of nouns also include:

  • Plural nouns (cats, parks)
  • Possessive nouns (cat’s, park’s)
  • Proper (Mr. Smith, Times Square)

In addition to these types, others include; Common nouns, which are words that refer to general objects or ideas (chair, city), while proper nouns refer to specific people or places (John, New York). Collective nouns are words that refer to groups of things (class, team). Abstract nouns are words that refer to ideas or concepts (love, freedom). Concrete nouns are words that refer to physical objects that can be perceived by the five senses (sound, smell, taste, touch, and sight).


Pronouns are one of the parts of speech in English. A pronoun is a word that is used in place of a noun or a noun phrase. Pronouns are used to refer to people or things, either directly or indirectly. The most common possessive pronouns are:

  • He
  • She
  • It
  • They
  • Them
  • Their
  • Mine
  • Yours
  • Hers
  • His
  • Its
  • Ours

There are also reflexive pronouns and relative pronouns. Pronouns are usually found after the noun or the phrase that they are replacing. For example: “I saw John in the park.” In this sentence, “I” is a pronoun that is replacing the speaker’s name. “John” is the noun that is being replaced by the pronoun “I”. “He” is also a pronoun and it is replacing John.

You can also use pronouns to refer to yourself: “I’m going to the store.” Here, “I” is a reflexive pronoun because it is referring back to the subject of the sentence. Relative pronouns are used to introduce clauses: “The man who was at the store was looking for a book.” In this sentence, “who” is a relative pronoun that introduces the clause “who was at the store.”


Verbs are one of the eight parts of speech. They are words that indicate action or state of being. In English, verbs are usually denoted by the suffix “-ed” added to the root form of the word, as in “walk-ed,” “study-ed,” and “live-ed.” The root form is also known as the base form. There are three main types of verbs:

  • Action verbs
  • Linking verbs
  • Helping verbs

Action verbs describe physical or mental actions and include words such as “run,” “jump,” “read,” and “think.” Linking verbs connect the subject to a word or entire sentence that describes or identifies it and include words such as “is,” “seems,” and “becomes.” Helping verbs assist the main verb in a sentence by providing more information about time, tense, mood, or condition and include words such as “can,” “should,” and “would.” All three types of verbs are necessary for constructing sentences in English. Knowing how to use them correctly is essential for effective communication.


Adjectives are one of the eight parts of speech. They modify verbs, nouns, and other adjectives and show the degree, size, shape, age, colour, origin, and material of the things they modify. For example: “a hot stove,” “a round ball,” “an old car,” and ” Cuban cigars.” Adjectival meanings usually come before the noun or pronoun they modify but sometimes come after it: “He is slow.” “That car is mine.” When two or more adjective categories modify the same noun, they are usually listed in a specific order:

  • Quantity or Number
  • Quality or Opinion
  • Size
  • Age
  • Shape
  • Colour
  • Nationality or Origin
  • Material


An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb. In English, adverbs are typically formed by adding the suffix “-ly” to an adjective, as in the words “slowly” and “quickly.” Adverbs can express manner, degree, frequency, time, place, or other aspects of how an action is performed. For example, the adverb “slowly” in the sentence “He slowly walked across the room” modifies the verb “walked.” The word “slowly” tells us how he walked. Similarly, the adverb “quickly” in the sentence “She quickly ran out of the room” modifies the verb “ran.” The word “quickly” tells us how she ran. Other examples of adverbs include words like:

  • Here
  • There
  • Now
  • Then

Adverbs can be placed either before or after the word they modify. In general, however, they are placed after verbs and before adjectives and other adverbs.


A preposition is a word (often a short word) that shows the relationship between two parts of a sentence. A preposition usually comes before a noun or a pronoun. For example, in the sentence “I looked for my watch under the couch,” the word “under” is a preposition that shows the relationship between “I” and “my watch.” The word “under” tells us where to find the watch. Other examples of prepositions are:

  • Above
  • About
  • After
  • At
  • Before
  • Behind
  • By
  • During
  • In
  • On
  • Over
  • Per
  • Since
  • Toward
  • Through

Many of these prepositions also have multiple meanings. The meaning of a preposition often has to do with time or location. Some people say there are only about 150 prepositions in English; others say there are closer to 250. It’s hard to be exact because new words are always being created. In addition, some words can be used as more than one part of speech.


Conjunctions are one of the parts of speech. They are words that join other words, phrases, or clauses together. There are three main types of conjunctions:

  • Coordinating conjunctions
  • Subordinating conjunctions
  • Correlative conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions join two words, phrases, or clauses of equal importance. Some common coordinating conjunctions include “and,” “but,” and “or.” Subordinating conjunctions join a subordinate clause to the main clause. Some common subordinating conjunctions include “after,” “although,” and “because.” Correlative conjunctions come in pairs and are used to join two words, phrases, or clauses that are of equal importance. Some common correlative conjunctions include “both…and,” “either…or,” and “neither…nor.”

While conjunctions are small words, they play an important role in sentence construction. Without them, sentences would be choppy and difficult to understand.

Articles and Determiners

Articles and determiners are parts of speech that are used to modify nouns. They can indicate whether a noun is specific or unspecific, and can also be used to denote possession. There are two types of articles:

  • Definite articles, which refer to a specific noun
  • Indefinite articles, refer to any member of a group of nouns.

There are also three types of determiners:

  • Demonstrative determiners, which point out a particular noun
  • Possessive determiners, which show ownership
  • Quantitative Determiners, which denote quantity

Although they perform different functions, both articles and determiners play an important role in communication. By using these parts of speech correctly, speakers can provide clarity and precision in their writing and speech.


An interjection is a word or phrase that can be used to express emotion. It is typically used as a standalone exclamation, such as:

  • “Wow!”
  • “Oh no!”
  • “No way!”
  • “Holy Cow!”
  • “Ouch!”
  • “Yay!”

Interjections can also be used to express excitement, surprise, or dismay. In some cases, they can even be used to fill in awkward pauses in conversation. While interjections are not always considered part of standard English grammar, they can be useful for adding emphasis or lending flavour to writing. As such, they are often used in fiction and other creative writing.

However, it is important to use them sparingly, as too many interjections can make writing feel choppy or amateurish. When used judiciously, however, interjections can add personality and flair to your writing.

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Figuring out parts of speech

When you are trying to figure out the parts of speech in traditional grammar, the first step is to identify the verb. The verb is the action word in the sentence, and it will usually come before the subject. For example, in the sentence “The cat slept on the mat,” the verb is “slept.” Once you have identified the verb, you can then identify the subject. The subject is the noun or pronoun that is acting as the verb. In our example sentence, “The cat slept on the mat,” the subject is “cat.”

After you have identified the verb and subject, you can then begin to look for other parts of speech. Common parts of speech include adjectives (descriptive words), adverbs (words that modify verbs), and prepositions (words that show relationships between objects).

To identify these parts of speech, look for words that come before or after verbs and nouns. For example, in the sentence “The red cat slept on the soft mat,” the category of color and adjective “red” modifies the adjectival noun “cat” and the adjective “soft” modifies the noun “mat.” The adverb “on” modifies the verb “slept” by showing where the action took place.

By breaking down sentences into their parts, you can more easily identify the function of each word and understand how they work together to form a complete thought.

When a word is two different kinds of speech

There are parts of speech in the English language that can be difficult to identify.

  • For example, the word “you” can function as both a pronoun and an adjective. When used as a pronoun, “you” is the subject of a sentence or clause.
  • For example, “You are going to the store.” When used as an adjective, “you” modifies a noun or pronoun.

To identify when a word is two different kinds of speech, it is important to understand the parts of speech and how they function in a sentence. With a little practice, you will be able to identify when a word is being used as two different parts of speech.

Common Endings

Common Noun Endings

In English, there are three parts of speech: nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Nouns are words that refer to people, places, things, or ideas. Verbs are words that describe actions or states of being. Adjectives are a word that classes nouns or pronouns. Common noun endings include:

  • -er
  • -est
  • -s
  • -ed
  • -ing

These suffixes change the meaning of the word and often indicate whether the word is a subject or an object. For example, the word “read” is a verb meaning “to look at something closely.” The word “reader” is a noun phrase meaning “one who reads.” The word “reading” is a gerund meaning “the act of reading.” By understanding common noun endings, you can better understand the function of words in a sentence. This can help you to avoid breaking grammar rules and to communicate more effectively.

Common Verb Endings

There are a few basic combinations of verb endings that you will see in English. These are:

  • -s
  • -ed
  • -ing
  • -en

Each of these endings has a different function depending on the closedness of verbs. The -s ending is used to indicate present tense verbs, while -ed is used for past tense verbs. The -ing form is used for verb phrases and gerunds, and the -en form is used for irregular verbs.

While there are some exceptions to these rules, they generally apply to most verbs in English. By knowing these common verb endings, you can better understand how to use brand new verbs in sentence structure.

Common Adjective Endings

Adjectives are one of the eight parts of speech in English. They are used to modify nouns and pronouns. Adjectives are a broader category and can be used to describe almost anything, from physical attributes to personality traits. There are dozens of adjective endings in English, but some of the most common are:

  • -able
  • -eous
  • -ful
  • -ic
  • -ing
  • -ish
  • -ive
  • -less
  • -y

Common Adverb Endings

Adverbs are one of the eight parts of speech in English. They modify present tense verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, phrases, and clauses. Adverbs give us more information about how, when, where, and to what extent an action is carried out. In short, they tell us more about the verbs. Common adverb endings include:

  • -ly
  • -wise
  • -ward(s)
  • -ways
  • -most

The most common ending for adverbial phrases is -ly. This is because most adverbs are formed by taking an adjective and adding -ly to the end of it. For example, the adjective slow becomes the adverb slowly. Other examples include softly, bravely, happily, yearly, monthly, daily, etc. You can usually tell if a word is an adverb by its spelling; if it ends in -ly, chances are it’s an adverb.

Order of Adjectives

As previously mentioned, one of the most essential aspects of adjectives is their order of use. When more than one adjective is used to modify a noun, there is a specific order that they should follow. This order is:

  • Quantity or number
  • Quality or opinion
  • Size
  • Age
  • Shape
  • Colour
  • Origin or material
  • Purpose

Let’s take a closer look at each category. First, quantity or number refers to how many of something there are, like “five dogs.”

Quality or opinion covers adjectives that express someone’s opinion, such as “amazing” or “delicious.”

Size adjectives describe how large or small something is and include class sizes like “huge” or “tiny.”

Age tells us how old something is and can be either specific, like “twenty-year-old,” or general, like “ancient.”

Shape covers the physical form of an object and can be either geometric, like “square,” or organic, like “slippery.”

Colour tells us what colour something is while origin or material describes where something comes from or what it is made of and can include adjectives like “Italian” or “wooden.”

Finally, purpose tells us why something exists and can be either functional, like “safety goggles,” or decorative, like “ornate.” Now that we know the order of adjectives, we can use them correctly in our writing.

Commas With Multiple Adjectives

A good rule of thumb is that if omitting the comma would change the meaning of the sentence, then you should include it. For example, “The red, white, and blue flag” versus “The red white and blue flag.” In the first sentence, the colours are independent (coordinate) descriptors; in the second sentence, they create a single cumulative description.

Position of Adverbs

Adverbs usually come after the verb, but there are some exceptions. For example, in the sentence “He slowly walks to the door,” the adverb “slowly” describes the verb “walks.” In contrast, “He walked quickly to the door” emphasizes how fast he walked.

Adverbs can also be placed at the beginning or end of a sentence for added emphasis. For instance, “Sadly, I have to go” emphasizes the speaker’s regret, while “I have to go sadly” emphasizes how they will leave. Adverbs can thus add depth and meaning to sentences by providing insight into the speaker’s attitude or point of view.

More Detailed Rules for the Position of Adverbs

There are some detailed rules about the position of adverbs in a sentence.

Adverbs that modify verbs usually come after the main verb or after the auxiliary verb. For example:

  • He slowly walked across the room.
  • He has slowly been walking across the room.

Adverbs that modify adjectives or other adverbs usually come before the word they are modifying. For example:

  • That is a very careful driver.
  • She drives quite slowly.

There are some exceptions to these general rules. For example, certain types of adverbs (such as those that express frequency) can go in different positions in a sentence without changing the meaning. In addition, some adverbs can be moved to a different position for emphasis. However, in general, these are the basic rules for adverb placement in English sentences.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Parts of Speech

What are the formal parts of a speech?

The introduction, body, and conclusion are the parts of the speech where the speaker should start with an attention grabber, state the main points, and then finish with a strong conclusion. They add color to language and keep things organized.

– The introduction is the part of the speech where the speaker gets the audience’s attention. The speaker can use a quotation, question, story, or statistic.

– The body is the meat of the speech. This is where the speaker states the main points. The main points should be clear and concise. The body should also flow smoothly from one point to another.

– The conclusion is the last part of the speech. The speaker should restate the main points and end with a strong statement that leaves the audience thinking.

Why is knowing the different parts of speech important?

Each part of speech plays a different role in a sentence, and understanding how they work together is essential for clear communication. For example, verbs describe an action, while adjectives modify nouns.
If you don’t know the basic types of speech, it can be difficult to construct a grammatically correct sentence. In addition, parts of speech can affect the meaning of a sentence. For instance, using the wrong pronoun can change the subject of a sentence entirely.

What part of speech is the word “you”?

“You” is a personal pronoun. Pronouns take the place of a noun phrase or a group of words acting as a noun in a sentence. There are three types of pronouns: personal pronouns, relative pronouns, and demonstrative pronouns. “You” is a personal pronoun. Personal pronouns represent specific people or things in blocks of grammar.

What part of speech is “either” and “or”?

Many people are unsure of the parts of speech for “either” and “or.” The word “either” is always a conjunction, while “or” can be either a conjunction or a disjunctive pronoun, depending on its usage. When used as a conjunction, “or” joins two distinct parts of a sentence together, such as two nouns or two verbs.

“Us” and “We” come under which parts of speech?

Us and we are both personal pronouns, which are words that take the place of a noun or noun phrase. Pronouns allow us to avoid repeating the same noun over and over again. For example, instead of saying “John went to the store. John bought some milk. John drank the milk,” we can use demonstrative pronouns to say “John went to the store. He bought some milk. He drank the milk.”

What parts of speech are “near”?

Near is what is known as a preposition. A preposition is a word that expresses spatial or temporal relationships between its object and the rest of the sentence (e.g., “over,” “under,” “before,” “after”). In the sentence, “The book is near the lamp,” the word “near” functions as a preposition because it expresses the spatial relationship between the book and the lamp.

What is the importance of parts of speech in the English language?

English is a complex language with many nuances and subtleties. A key part of understanding and using English correctly is knowing the parts of speech. These are the different categories that words can be classified into, based on their function in a sentence.

What part of speech is the word “would”?

The word “would” is a verb. It typically expresses past tense actions, but it can also be used to express future actions. For example, “I would go to the store” means that in the past, I went to the store. “I would go to the store” can also mean that in the future, I will go to the store.

What parts of speech are universal?

The parts of speech that are universally recognized are nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. These parts of speech are essential for conveying information about people, places, things, and actions. Together, they provide the building blocks for creating complete sentences. Without them, communication would be impossible. Consequently, parts of speech are universal features of language that play a vital role in human communication.

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Bethany MacDonald

Bethany MacDonald

Bethany MacDonald has contributed articles since 2020. As their Blog Lead, she specialises in informative pieces on culture, education, and language learning

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