Parts of Speech: A Comprehensive Overview

  1. Improving English skills
  2. Grammar
  3. Parts of Speech

Do you want to improve your English skills and gain a better understanding of grammar? Then you must understand the basics of the English language – the parts of speech! This comprehensive overview will explain what each part of speech is, how it works, and the role it plays in forming sentences. From nouns and verbs to conjunctions and interjections, there are eight parts of speech that make up a sentence. Each part has its own distinct purpose and meaning. Understanding the parts of speech will help you to become a better communicator, as well as make it easier to read and write English.


are words that refer to people, places, things, or ideas.

They are the building blocks of language and are used as both the subject and object of a sentence. For example, in the sentence “The dog barked”, “dog” is the noun. Nouns can be either proper (“John”) or common (“dog”). Proper nouns always begin with a capital letter.

Verbs are words that express action or state of being. The verb in the sentence “The dog barked” is “barked”. Verbs can be either regular (ending in -ed) or irregular (not ending in -ed). Verbs can also be transitive (taking an object) or intransitive (not taking an object).

Adjectives are words that modify or describe nouns or pronouns. In the sentence “The red dog barked”, “red” is the adjective. Adjectives can be either positive (e.g., “red”) or comparative (e.g., “redder”).


are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.

In the sentence “The dog barked loudly”, “loudly” is the adverb. Adverbs can be either positive (e.g., “loudly”) or comparative (e.g., “more loudly”).


are words used to substitute for nouns. In the sentence “John went to the store”, “he” is the pronoun used to substitute for “John”.

Pronouns can be either personal (e.g., “he”) or possessive (e.g., “his”).


are words used to connect phrases or clauses in a sentence. In the sentence “John and Mary went to the store”, “and” is the conjunction that connects the two clauses together. Conjunctions can be either coordinating (e.g., “and”) or subordinating (e.g., “because”).

Prepositions are words used to indicate location or direction in a sentence. In the sentence “John went to the store”, “to” is the preposition that indicates direction. Prepositions can also be used to indicate time (e.g., “before”) or relationships between words (e.g., “with”).


are words used to express emotion in a sentence.

In the sentence “Oh no! I forgot my wallet!”, “Oh” is the interjection expressing surprise. Interjections are usually followed by an exclamation point. When using any of these parts of speech, it's important to pay attention to any exceptions or nuances that may apply. For example, some nouns can also be used as verbs (e.g., table/table).

It's also important to pay attention to subject-verb agreement and dangling modifiers when constructing sentences with multiple parts of speech. In addition to understanding the basics of each part of speech, it's also important to understand how they work together in a sentence. For example, a sentence may contain multiple nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs that all work together to form a cohesive thought. Finally, it's important to note that some parts of speech can have multiple meanings depending on context. For example, a noun can refer to a person, place, thing, or idea, while a verb can refer to an action or state of being.


Adverbs are words that modify or describe verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They can be used to indicate time, place, manner, degree, or frequency.

Adverbs can be used to provide more information about the action of a verb, the intensity of an adjective, or the manner in which another adverb is used.

Comparative adverbs

Comparative adverbs are used to compare two actions or ideas. They usually follow the words 'more' and 'less', such as in the phrases 'more quickly' and 'less slowly'. Examples include: faster, slower, higher, lower, earlier, later, louder, quieter, better, worse.

Superlative adverbs

Superlative adverbs are used to compare three or more actions or ideas.

They usually follow the word 'most', such as in the phrase 'most quickly'. Examples include: fastest, slowest, highest, lowest, earliest, latest, loudest, quietest, best, worst.

Conjunctive adverbs

Conjunctive adverbs are used to connect two independent clauses. Examples include: additionally, also, furthermore, hence, however, moreover, nevertheless, otherwise, then, therefore.

Adverbs of frequency

Adverbs of frequency are used to describe how often an action is performed. Examples include: always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely, never.


Interjections are words or phrases used to convey an emotion or sentiment.

They are typically followed by an exclamation point or a comma. Examples of interjections include oh, ah, hey, wow, yikes, and yay. Interjections are not used to form complete sentences; instead, they are used to express emotion or sentiment. They can be used to show surprise, happiness, anger, excitement, and many other emotions.

For example, you might say 'Oh! That was unexpected' when you are surprised by something. Or you might say 'Yay! I passed the test!' when you are excited about a good outcome. Interjections can also be used as interjectory phrases, which are phrases that express a sentiment. Some examples of interjectory phrases include 'bless your heart', 'alas', and 'goodness gracious'. These phrases can be used to express sympathy, sorrow, surprise, or other feelings. When using interjections, it is important to keep in mind the context and the tone of the conversation.

For example, if you are in a formal setting, it would be inappropriate to use interjections such as 'oh', 'hey', or 'yay'. In contrast, if you are in a more casual setting, these interjections may be more appropriate.


Conjunctions are an important part of the English language. They are used to connect words, phrases, and clauses in order to form complex sentences. There are three main types of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and subordinating conjunctions.

Coordinating conjunctions are also known as FANBOYS (for/and/nor/but/or/yet/so). These conjunctions join words, phrases, and clauses of equal importance. For example, “I want to go to the park and play soccer.” Here, the coordinating conjunction “and” connects two clauses of equal importance. Correlative conjunctions also connect words, phrases, and clauses of equal importance.

However, there are always two conjunctions used in a correlative conjunction pair. For example, “He was both surprised and delighted to receive the award.” Here, the correlative conjunction pair “both...and” connects two clauses of equal importance. Subordinating conjunctions connect two clauses where one clause is dependent on the other. For example, “He left early because he was feeling sick.” Here, the subordinating conjunction “because” connects a dependent clause (“he was feeling sick”) to an independent clause (“he left early”).


Adjectives are words that describe or modify another person or thing in a sentence.

They can be used to describe the qualities of objects, people, places, and ideas. Adjectives help to make sentences more interesting and vivid. There are three types of adjectives: comparative, superlative, and possessive. Comparative adjectives are used to compare two things, while superlative adjectives compare three or more things.

Possessive adjectives indicate possession of something. Comparative adjectives are formed by adding the suffix ‘-er’ (or in some cases ‘more’) to the adjective. For example, ‘tall’ becomes ‘taller’ and ‘happy’ becomes ‘happier’. Superlative adjectives are formed by adding the suffix ‘-est’ (or in some cases ‘most’) to the adjective.

For example, ‘tall’ becomes ‘tallest’ and ‘happy’ becomes ‘happiest’. Possessive adjectives are formed by adding an apostrophe and an ‘s’ to the noun. For example, ‘cat’ becomes ‘cat's’ and ‘dog’ becomes ‘dog's’.Here are some examples of each type of adjective in use:

  • He is taller than his brother.
  • She is the happiest person I know.
  • This is my brother's car.


Pronouns are used to substitute nouns in a sentence, making it more concise. Pronouns can be divided into three categories: personal pronouns, reflexive pronouns and demonstrative pronouns.

Personal PronounsPersonal pronouns indicate a specific person or thing. They come in three cases: subjective (I, we, you, he, she, it, they), objective (me, us, you, him, her, it, them) and possessive (mine, ours, yours, his, hers, its, theirs).

Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are used when the subject and object of a sentence are the same. These pronouns end in -self or -selves (myself, ourselves, yourself, himself, herself, itself, themselves).

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns are used to point out a specific person or thing. These pronouns include this, that, these and those.

Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns are used to ask questions.

These include who, whom, what, which, whose and whomever. For example:I personally went to the store. (Personal pronoun in the subjective case)He gave it to me. (Personal pronoun in the objective case)This is mine. (Personal pronoun in the possessive case)She bought it for herself.

(Reflexive pronoun)Do you want this, or that? (Demonstrative pronouns)Which book do you want? (Interrogative pronoun)


Nouns are an essential part of the English language and are one of the eight parts of speech. A noun is a word that names a person, place, thing, quality, or idea. Nouns can be classified in several ways, such as proper nouns, common nouns, abstract nouns, collective nouns, compound nouns, possessive nouns, and plural nouns.

Proper Nouns

are used to name a particular person, place, or thing.

For example, John, London, and Apple are all proper nouns. Proper nouns are usually capitalized.

Common Nouns

are used to name general items rather than specific ones. For example, the words “boy” and “city” are both common nouns.

Abstract Nouns

are used to name concepts or ideas that cannot be seen or touched. Examples of abstract nouns include “freedom” and “happiness”.

Collective Nouns

are used to describe a group of people or things.

Examples of collective nouns include “family” and “team”.

Compound Nouns

are formed by combining two or more words to create a new word. Examples of compound nouns include “sunshine” and “eyeglasses”.

Possessive Nouns

are used to show ownership or possession of something. Examples of possessive nouns include “Jill’s book” and “the store’s sign”.

Plural Nouns

are used to refer to more than one person or thing. Plural nouns can be made by adding “-s” or “-es” to the end of the word.

For example, the plural form of “cat” is “cats” and the plural form of “box” is “boxes”.


Verbs are words that express action, existence, or a state of being. They are one of the most important parts of speech in English grammar, and they can be used to express physical action, mental action, or a state of being.

Action Verbs

Action verbs, also known as dynamic verbs, refer to an action that is being done by the subject of the sentence. Examples include: run, jump, play, think, move, dance, and so on.

Linking Verbs Linking verbs, also known as copular verbs, link the subject to a word or phrase in the predicate of the sentence. Common examples of linking verbs include: be, become, seem, appear, remain, stay, look, feel, sound, taste, and smell.

Helping Verbs

Helping verbs are also known as auxiliary verbs and they help to form different verb tenses. Common helping verbs include: have, has, had, do, does, did, will, would, can, could, shall, should, may and might.

Verb Tenses Verb tenses refer to the time when the action takes place. There are three main verb tenses: past tense (e.g. ran), present tense (e.g. run) and future tense (e.g.

will run).

Transitive Verbs

Transitive verbs are verbs that take an object in the sentence. Examples include: eat (the sandwich), read (the book), drive (the car), and so on.

Intransitive Verbs

Intransitive verbs do not take an object in the sentence.

Examples include: sleep, arrive, laugh, cry, and so on.

Regular Verbs

Regular verbs are verbs that follow the same pattern of conjugation in all tenses; they usually end in -ed in the past tense (e.g. walked) and -s in the third person singular present tense (e.g. walks).

Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs are verbs that do not follow the same pattern of conjugation in all tenses; they often have different forms in the past tense (e.g.

went instead of walked) and in the third person singular present tense (e.g. goes instead of walks). Examples include: go/went/gone; have/had/had; know/knew/known; and so on.


A preposition is a word that shows the relationship between two other words in a sentence. Prepositions are used to indicate location, time, direction, and other related concepts.

Prepositions can be used to connect nouns, pronouns, and phrases. They are important for linking ideas and giving descriptions in sentences. Common prepositions include: about, after, around, at, before, behind, by, during, for, from, in, of, on, to, under, and with. A prepositional phrase is a group of words that begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun. The noun or pronoun that ends the preposition is called the object of the preposition. An example of a prepositional phrase is “in the room”.The object of the preposition can also be a gerund (an -ing word).

An example of this is “without running”. A prepositional phrase can also contain modifiers such as adjectives and adverbs. An example of this is “underneath the blue table”.Prepositions are used to provide information about how two ideas or objects relate to one another. Here are some examples of how prepositions can be used:

  • I am going to the store.
  • He was born in January.
  • She lives on Main Street.
  • He walked across the bridge.
Prepositions can also be used to join two independent clauses together.

For example:

  • I wanted to go to the store, but I forgot my wallet.
Understanding the eight parts of speech in English grammar – nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions and interjections – is an important step in improving your English language skills. Knowing how to use them correctly can help you communicate more accurately and effectively. Each part of speech has a specific function and purpose in a sentence, and understanding these can help you create more meaningful sentences. The article covers the basics of each part of speech and provides examples to help you understand how to use them correctly.

With practice and knowledge of the parts of speech, you will be able to communicate more confidently and accurately in English.

Lucy Tittle
Lucy Tittle

"Lucy Tittle is a seasoned marketing professional and online tutor, recognised for her expertise in driving marketing success across diverse industries. She holds a Master of Arts (MA) in Art History from the University of St. Andrews, where she actively contributed as an art and photography editor for The Tribe Magazine, among other notable roles. Lucy's educational journey also includes A-Levels from Caterham School. With a passion for both education and marketing, Lucy has built a remarkable career. She currently serves as a key member of the Senior Team at The Profs. Additionally, Lucy has held significant roles at The Progressive Technology Centre, Vardags, Dukes Education, and Prior to that Lucy was a professional Tutor, working with Secondary School age students following 11+, GCSE, IB and A-level courses. "