Parts of Speech

Acquiring a keen grasp of English grammar requires knowing the parts of speech.  The parts of speech are also commonly referred to as word classes. We all know most kids today are flunking English class, but here we’ll try to cover the basic parts of speech.

The eight parts of speech or word classes are adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, interjections, nouns, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs. We’ve dedicated separate sections for each of the parts of speech. Below are are basic summaries of the word classes.


Adverbs modify a verb, adjective, or other adverb. Adjectives provide more information about a verb, adjective, or other adverb. Conjunctive adverbs are in their own category. Conjunctive adverbs join independent clauses into a single sentence.


Adjectives are words that modify a noun or pronoun. Pronouns are said to give a more clear meaning to the noun or pronoun. Articles are a special category of adjectives.  Articles include only the three words a, an, and the. Determiners are another special category of adjectives. Determiners help point out to which words the nouns are referring.


Conjunctions join words in a sentence.  They can join nouns, verbs, and independent clauses. The three categories of conjunctions are coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and subordinating conjunctions.


Interjections are words that either express surprise or some other type of emotion. Interjections can stand alone or be used as a “filler.”


Nouns name a person, place, thing, idea, or concept. Classifications of nouns include proper nouns, common nouns, abstract nouns, compound nouns, count nouns, noncount nouns, and collective nouns.


Prepositions link a noun or pronoun to some other word in a sentence. The last eight letters of preposition are “position.”  Prepositions often indicate the position of the noun or pronoun.


 Pronouns are words that take the place of a noun. Classifications of nouns include personal pronouns, possessive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, relative pronouns, reflexive pronouns, interrogative pronouns, and indefinite pronouns.


Verbs are words that describe action or being. Verbs can be action verbs (transitive and non-transitive), being verbs, linking verbs or helping verbs.

In addition to the eight parts of speech, there are three other groups of words called verbals.  Verbals include participles, gerunds, and infinitives. For more information visit our verbals webpage.