Parts of Speech – Explanations

Parts of Speech are the eight categories into which words can be classified according to the job they do in a sentence.  They are like building blocks and the sentence is the building.


  1. Noun – a word that names a person, place, thing, or idea.

Thing – pencil, book, table, car, freeway

Person – mother, president, teacher, friend

Place – park, California, hospital, bedroom

Idea – peace, love, honor, cooperation


The woman sat in silence in the kitchen, saddened by the death of her old dog.


  1. Pronoun –  a word that takes the place of a noun.  It can go anywhere in the sentence that a noun can go.  For example,

Mary ate Jim’s cookies during Mary’s class, so Jim didn’t have Jim’s cookies left for Jim’s lunch.

Mary ate Jim’s cookies during   her class,      so he didn’t have         them         left for  his lunch.


Subject Object Reflexive Possessive Subject Object Reflexive Possessive
I me myself mine        
You you yourself yours It it itself its, its
He him himself his They them themselves their, theirs
She her herself hers We us ourselves our, ours


  1. Adjective –  a word that is used to describe a noun:  a red car, the tired students, a bad apple.

Possessive adjectives go before a noun:  my car,  his house, your books, its flowers


  1. Verb –  a word or group of words that express action or state of being

Action Verbs – express observable action:  He runs. She sneezed. They dance very well.

Nonaction verbs – express your mental state, possession, appearance, and the 5 senses.  These verbs are not usually used in progressive form.   I think it’s cold.  She has 2 sons.  I hear the music.

Linking Verbs (also nonaction) – express appearance or state of being.  He looks nice.  She is here.


  1. Adverb –  A word which describes a verb, an adjective or another adverb.

Adverbs of Manner(how you do things) – He walks slowly.  She writes carefully.

Adverbs of Time (frequency) –  We always go to class.  They never let the dog inside.  It often rains.

Intensifiers –  It is very hot today.  She is stunningly beautiful.

Comment Adverbs – She is truly happy.  He has unfortunately quit our company.


  1. Conjunction –  a word used to join sentences or sentence parts: and, but, or, so

Bob and Joe came, but Mary was sick at home, so they didn’t stay very late.


  1. Preposition –  a word which joins a noun or pronoun to the rest of the sentence.

Prepositions of place:  He put the book on the table, in the corner under the window.

Prepositions of time:  She arrived at 3:15 on a Friday in September.  Class is from 12:00 to 1:00.

Prepositions of relationship: The top OF the bookcase.   The fourth OF July


  1. Interjections –  a word used to exclaim or express a strong emotion:  oh!, wow!, yay!

Hooray! We don’t have a test.     Oh, no!  I forgot my homework.