"How the Eight Parts of Speech
Function in Sentence Construction"

I'm going to use the different parts of speech, one by one, to build a sentence.

As I go on adding a word to this growing sentence, I'll explain the added word's job in the sentence and what part of speech it is.

So, carefully watch what new thing each word adds to the sentence.

After our sentence is built, you may want to try answering a quiz.

1. Verb

example: eat

The word eat is an action word. Action words are verbs.

A few other words such as am, is, are, was, were, etc., which tell us about the state of being, are also called verbs.

2. Nouns

examples: John, mangoes

  • John eats

    John is a name. Names are called nouns.

  • John eats mangoes.

    The word 'mangoes' is also a name, though of another type than 'John' above. So, 'mangoes' is also a noun.

3. Adjective

example: ripe

John eats ripe mangoes.

The word 'ripe' is a description for the noun 'mangoes.'

Words that describe nouns are called adjectives.

4. Pronoun

example: he

He eats ripe mangoes.

The word 'he' is a substitute word for 'John.'

Words which are used as substitutes for nouns are called pronouns.

5. Adverbs

Three different types of words are called adverbs in traditional grammar.

We shall go through three steps and add a different type of adverb to our sentence in each step.

  1. The Adverb as Verb Modifier

    example: quickly

    He quickly eats ripe mangoes.

    The word 'quickly' adds meaning to the verb 'eats'.

    A word which describes a verb is called an adverb.

  2. The Adverb as Adjective Modifier

    example: fully

    He quickly eats fully ripe mangoes.

    The word 'fully' adds meaning to the adjective 'ripe'. A word which describes an adjective is also called an adverb.

  3. The Adverb as Modifier of Another Adverb

    example: very

    He very quickly eats fully ripe mangoes.

    The word 'very' adds meaning to the adverb 'quickly'. Words which thus describe adverbs are themselves adverbs.

6. Prepositions

examples: at, in

He very quickly eats fully ripe mangoes at home in the morning.

The words 'at' and 'in' are words placed before nouns 'home' and 'morning.' They are placed (i.e. "positioned") before (i.e. "pre") a noun or pronoun. Hence we call these words prepositions.

A preposition...

  • is a word placed before a noun (or pronoun) and...
  • relates such a noun to some other word in the sentence.

7. Conjunction

example: and

He very quickly eats very ripe mangoes and pears at home in the morning.

The word 'and' joins two words (mangoes, pears) in this sentence.

Words like and, but, or, because, therefore, and word-groups like either...or, not only...but also, etc. join together sentences and sometimes words.

E.g. Mohan came here but Rekha sat at home. [The conjunction 'but' joins two sentences in this example].

Words which join sentences or words together are called conjunctions.

8. Interjection

My Goodness!

My goodness! He and she eat ripe mangoes!

The words 'my goodness!' are words expressing sudden feeling. Such words are called interjections.

Interjections are important more as expressions of emotion than for any grammatical relationship with other words.

These Are the Eight...

English words belong to one or more of the eight parts of speech, which are:

A Word May Belong to More than One Part of Speech

Remember that in English you cannot say that a word belongs to one particular part of speech. It is not so.

The same word may be a different part of speech in different sentences. The work a word does is more important than its spelling or sound.

See this example...

The word 'milk' is a different part of speech each time.

  • I don't like milk. (noun)
  • So, you will have to milk the cow. (verb)
  • I like milk chocolate. (adjective)

Best Answer to Give: "I don't know!"

So, what will you answer if someone asks you what part of speech a particular word is?

You should wisely answer: "I don't know." It is not always safe to talk about the part of speech of a word unless you get it in a sentence.

These parts of speech are the groups a dictionary normally divides words into. There are other more sophisticated divisions. You shoud not get confused if you see other types of groupings. If you go step by step in exploring this site you will become an expert at these things.

Here's a Quiz...

I recommend this interesting grammar quiz to deepen your understanding of the Parts of Speech and how they fit together in a sentence.

For Further Reading and Study...

Related Pages

Parts of Speech

What is Grammar?

The Study of Verbs

The Study of Nouns

The Study of Pronouns

Forms and Functions of Nouns and Pronouns

Non-Finite Verbs (Verbals)

The World of Sentences