Parts of Speech

In English, there are eight different types of words, which we call parts of speech. When learning and discussing grammar, it helps to know what type of word you are using.






A name for a person, place, or thing. Nouns answer the questions who or what?

The following sentence has three nouns: Robert lives in a house in Wakefield.

Robert, House, and Wakefield are concrete things that you can see or touch. Sometimes a noun is not concrete.

The following sentence has one concrete noun and one abstract noun: Robert has integrity. Integrity is the name of a quality. It is an abstract noun. 


Replaces a noun. Example: He lives in Wakefield. Other examples: I, you, we


  • Indicates action. Example: Run, laugh, play.
  • Indicates a state. Example: Be, believe, think.


Describes or modifies a noun or pronoun. Example: My sister is beautifulShe is also funny.


  • Describes or modifies a verb. Example: I ran quickly.
  • Describes or modifies an adjective. Example: I am very hungry. 
  • Describes or modifies an adverb. Example: I ran really quickly. 

An adverb tells you how something was done. It also tells you when, where, why, and to what extent something was done. Hint: Most, though not all, adverbs end in -ly


 Joins two words or sentences together. Example:  and, but, so, because


 Joins a noun to some other part of the sentence, and determines the relationship between the noun and that part. Consider the difference between the following sentences:

  • She talked at me for an hour. // She talked to me for an hour. 
  • The cup is on the table. // The cup is under the table.
  • Other common prepositions: in, since, during, below, near, about, before, etc. 


 Short exclamation. Oh! My! Ouch! Wow! Well, if you say so.


If you have been counting my points, you will have noticed that this is the ninth (And she said there were eight!). Some people put articles under Adjectives. Others treat articles as the ninth part of speech. However you want to classify them, articles introduce nouns. Examples: A, an, the. Use before a noun that starts with a consonant, and An before a noun that starts with a vowel. Example: I ate a banana and an apple.