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The Parts of Speech

The Parts of Speech

You are interested in writing English so you have to know how the English language works. To know how a machine works you have to know how the parts of the machine work. You have to know the functions of the parts. It is the same with language. You have to know the job that every word fulfills in a sentence. The functions of the words in English are called the Parts of Speech.

When we talk or write, we communicate information. We talk or write about something or someone; we describe a thing or a person and what that person does and how he or she does it. Communicating all this is what the “parts of speech” do. They make it possible to get our thoughts in order, and for our reader or listener to follow our thought.

The Parts of Speech help us put the words we use in different boxes according to how we use them.

Let’s see… For example, some words name something for example: Rose, Peter, beauty, citizenship, stone. Other words indicate an action such as: hit, talk, think. Others say something about other words. These are adjectives red, large, blue, and adverbs fast, happily, early, never.

Do not be scared! This is not a grammar book but a guide to learn to identify and avoid common pitfalls encountered by someone studying English.

You have to be able to identify the Verb, Noun, Adjective, and Adverb to help your reading comprehension and to write well.

The following are the most important Parts of Speech that we will emphasize in this book. These are the parts of speech that will help you when you use a dictionary to organize in your writing.

VERB: A word denoting action, occurrence, or existence.

Examples: ran, jump, shout, sweat, thinks, feels, sleeps, eat, laugh, are, is, was, has

The President met with foreign diplomats on Tuesday. The girl seems nice.

NOUN: A word that names a person, place, thing, idea, animal, quality, or action. Nouns function as subjects and objects of the sentence.

Examples: child, John, New York, books, pizza, love, pony, generosity,

Edwin, my brother, is a professional musician.

ADJECTIVE: A word that modifies, qualifies or describes nouns and pronouns. Generally, adjectives appear immediately before the words they modify.

Examples: pretty girl, talented doctor, young athlete, blue book

The small child begged for a bedtime story.

ADVERB: A word often (but not always) ending in “ly” that modifies verbs, adjectives and other adverbs. An “ly” ending almost always changes an adjective to an adverb.

Examples: spoke quickly, ran hastily, worked frantically

Kelly reluctantly agreed to serve on my committee.

Many adverbs do not end in “ly.” However, all adverbs identify when, where, how, how far, how much, etc.

Examples: hang low, stand straight, added wrong, study hard

Kelly never loses her temper.

Example: The children sing happily. The child is very smart. (This is an example of the adverb very modifying an adjective smart)

Make sure you can identify the Verb, Noun, Adjective, and Adverb. The following tips might help you.

VERB The word is probably a verb if:

You can use will, shall, can, could, may, might, must, should, or would in front of the word.

Examples: will come, could go, would miss

NOUN The word is probably a noun if:

You can make it plural or singular (one book, two books)

You can make it possessive (book, book’s pages; girl, girls’ dresses)

It can follow a prepositional phrase such as to the, with the, from the.

You can place the word a, an, or the in front of it.

ADJECTIVE The word is probably an adjective if:

You can add er or est to the word (happy–happier–happiest)

You can use more or most in front of it (beautiful–more beautiful–most beautiful)

You can use the words very or quite in front of it (she wore a very bright, daring costume)

ADVERB The word is probably an adverb if:

There is an ly suffix (happily)

The word or phrase can be moved to another place in the sentence and still make sense

Examples: He usually goes to school. -or-

Usually, he goes to school. -or-He goes to school usually.

That’s it!

There are other parts of speech but they do not interest us at the moment. In fact, for the first phase of perfecting English, you can concentrate your efforts on the nouns and verbs.

Why do I start with the parts of speech? I always stress them in my classes with adult immaigrants who are learning English. Why? I stress the parts of speech because they help you understand the structure of the English sentence. When you write you will have to know how to get your ideas across. To get you ideas across you have to use the words correctly.

Learn more about writing at: http://www.BooksLibros.com/writing_2.htm

Writing is important but so is speaking with a proper North American accent. Get some help with you accent at the webpage given in the author’s biography below.