This chapter focuses on the study of the fundamentals of grammar. Such a study logically begins with the eight parts of speech, the building blocks of our language. This chapter provides a brief overview of the parts of speech.


In the English language, words can be considered as the smallest elements that have distinctive meanings. Based on their use and functions, words are categorized into several types or parts of speech.

In general, different kinds of words are called Parts of Speech.


There are eight parts of speech which are as follows:


1) NOUN: A noun is a word used as the name of a person, place or thing in a sentence. In addition to this, it is also informed that nouns signify qualities, feelings, concepts, activities, and measures as well.

Let’s refresh this knowledge by looking at the following examples:

Persons:        Praveen, Dr. Prateek, teacher, accountant

Places:           Lucknow, island, Italy, college

Things:          Novel, bicycle, horse

Qualities:      Patience, honesty, initiative, enthusiasm

Feelings:       Happiness, anger, confusion, sadness

Concepts:      Knowledge, freedom, friendship, travel

Activities:     Dancing, management, eating

Measures:    Day, week, inch, kilometer, million


Sentences revolve around such nouns because these words function both as subjects and as objects of verbs. It can be determined whether a word is really a noun by using it with the verb ‘is’ or ‘are’. Notice that all the nouns listed here would make sense if used in this way.


Let’s look at a few examples:


Praveen is young.

Lucknow is in Uttar Pradesh.

Horses are beautiful.

Dancing is fun.


2) PRONOUN: A pronoun is a word used in place of a noun. As noun substitutes, pronouns provide variety and efficiency. Compare the following two versions of the same sentence:

Without pronouns: Neera gave the book to Deepti so that Deepti could use the book to study.

With pronouns: Neera gave the book to Deepti so that she could use it to study.

In sentences, pronouns may function as subjects of verbs (for example, I, we, they) or as objects of verbs (for example, me, us, them).

They may act as connectors (for example, that, which, who), and they may show possession (for example, mine, ours, hers, theirs).

Please note that words such as his, my, her, and its are classified as adjectives when they describe nouns (his car, my desk, its engine).

3) VERB: A verb is a word used for saying something about a person or thing or expresses an action, an occurrence, or a state of being.


Let’s look at a few examples:


Rohit built an excellent website. (Action)

It has many links. (Occurrence)

He is proud of it. (State of being)

Verbs that express a state of being generally link to the subject words that describe or rename it. Some linking verbs are am, is, are, was, were, be, being, and been. Other linking verbs express the senses such as feels, appear, tastes, sounds, seems, and looks.

All sentences have at least one verb; many sentences will have more than one verb. Verbs may appear as a single word in a sentence or in phrases.

For examples,

Nancy submitted her application for the post of a management trainee. (Action verb)

Her résumé is just one page long. (Linking verb)

NOTE: To test whether a word is truly a verb, try using it with a noun or pronoun, such as ‘Saurabh eats,’ ‘she seems,’ or ‘it is’.

Now, let’s look at this example:

‘He food’; this doesn’t make sense because ‘food’ is not a verb. We can correct it by adding a verb to it in the following manner: ‘He eats food’.

4) ADJECTIVE: An adjective is a word used to qualify a noun or a pronoun. They often answer the questions: What kind? How many? and Which one?

Let’s look at a few examples of adjectives.

Small, independent colleges are becoming numerous. (What kinds of businesses?)

We have six franchises in four states. (How many franchises? How many states?)

That chain of departmental stores started as a small operation. (Which chain? What kind of operation?)

He is energetic and enthusiastic, while she is lethargic and docile. (What pronouns do these adjectives describe?)

It is observed that all the adjectives answer questions about the nouns they describe.

Here is a brief list of words used as adjectives:

effective Green sensitive
excellent intelligent small
expensive Long successful

5) ADVERB: An adverb is a word that modifies the meaning of a verb, an adjective or another adverb. Adverbs often answer the questions: When? How? Where? And to what extent?

Let’s look at a few examples of adjectives.

Today we must complete the task. (Must complete the task when?)

Sunil approached the intersection cautiously. (Approached how?)

He seems especially competent. (How competent?)

Did you see the schedule there? (Where?)

The teacher did not question him further. (Questioned him to what extent?)

Some of the most commonly used adverbs are as following:

carefully now really
evenly only too
greatly rather very


Many, but not all, words ending in ly are adverbs. Some exceptions are friendly, costly, and ugly, all of which are adjectives.

6) CONJUNCTION: A conjunction is a word which merely joins together sentences, and sometimes words. It is a joining word such as and, because, but, as soon as, provided that, lest…. should, etc.

Words that connect other words or groups of words are conjunctions. The most common conjunctions are and, but, or, and nor. These are called coordinating conjunctions because they join equal (coordinate) parts of sentences. Study the examples of coordinating conjunctions shown here:

Tarun, Rohit and Kiran are all looking for jobs. (Joins equal words)

You may be interviewed by a human resources officer or by a supervising manager. (Joins equal groups of words)

7) PREPOSITION: A preposition is a word placed before a noun or a pronoun to show in what relation the person or thing denoted by it stands in regard to something else.


As the word itself suggests (pre meaning “before”), a preposition is a word in a position before its object (a noun or pronoun). Prepositions are used in phrases to show a relationship between the object of the preposition and another word in the sentence.

In the following sentences notice how the preposition changes the relation of the object (Ms. Sheen) to the verb (talked):

Ravi often talked with Ms. Sheena.

Ravi often talked about Ms. Sheena.

Ravi often talked to Ms. Sheena.

The following words are the most commonly used prepositions:

about below excepting off toward
above beneath for on under
across beside(s) from onto underneath
after between in out until
against beyond in front of outside up
along but inside over upon
among by in spite of past up to
around concerning instead of regarding with
at despite into since within
because of down like through without
before during near throughout with regard to
behind except of to with

respect to


8) INTERJECTION: An interjection is a word which expresses some sudden feeling or emotion.

Interjections standing alone are followed by exclamation marks. When woven into a sentence, they are usually followed by commas.


Here are the eight PARTS OF SPEECH in a table chart with a brief description for each with their functions and examples:

Parts of Speech Functions Examples
1.      Nouns Names:

Ø  Person

Ø  Place

Ø  Thing

Ø  Idea/Emotions


Sangeeta, girl, company

Australia, home, Bombay

window, table, toy

love, content, calm

2.      Pronouns Replaces:

Ø  A noun

Ø  A pronoun

I, you, he, she, we, it, they, us, them, me, her, him, our, mine, yours, who, themselves, myself, ours, etc.
3.      Adjectives Describes:

Ø  A noun

Ø  A pronoun

The sweet girl

The developed country

The rich people

4.      Verbs Expresses:

Ø  Action

Ø  State of being

Ø  Linking

I sing a song.

He was contended.

Mohan danced.

She ate mangoes.

5.      Adverbs Describes:

Ø  Adverbs

Ø  Adjectives

Ø  Verbs


I sing the song very sweetly.

Sita had her dinner early.

She danced gracefully.

6.      Conjunctions Joins:

Ø  Words or groups of words in a sentence

I can’t come because it is dark.

I have nothing to say as you said everything.

You and he are going to party.

7.      Prepositions Relates:

Ø   A noun or pronoun to another word in a sentence

Ø  Location, Time, Comparison


Shyam put the books under the table.

In accordance to the manager, nobody is allowed in the meeting without his permission.

Vijeyta peeped the children playing in the garden through the window of her room.

8.      Interjections Expresses:

Ø  Interjects strong feelings

Hurray! Our team won the competition.

Goodness! You gave me a start.


The explanation of the parts of speech has been kept simple so far. This chapter is meant to serve as an introduction to later, more fully developed chapters. At this stage you should not expect to be able to identify the functions of all words in all sentences.

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