Language is made up of many different combinations of words and sentences that we use to communicate with one another. Different types of words have different roles to play within sentences, and different types of sentences perform different functions.

 

In this article, we’ll be showing you how different types of words (called parts of speech) are used to construct meaningful sentences.

 

Nouns

The job of a noun is to name something. It might be an object, a person, a place, or even a thought or idea. There are different types of nouns:

 

Common nouns: Refer to an object that you can see or touch.

Example: table, chair, dog

 

Proper nouns: Indicate the name of a person or place. Proper nouns always start with a capital letter.

Example: South Africa, Oxbridge Academy, Desmond Tutu, Toyota

 

Abstract nouns: Refer to concepts, rather than to things that you can detect with your senses.

Example: love, courage, hope, innovation

 

Collective nouns: Are used to name a group or collection of people or things.

Example: board of directors, litter of puppies, herd of cattle

Pronouns

A pronoun is a word that can be used to replace a noun, and is usually used to avoid repetition of the noun.

Mr Smith is late for his meeting today, because he overslept and missed his bus

Verbs

Verbs are “doing” words. They express actions.

Example: reading, speaking, walking, swimming

 

Verbs can be used in the past, present, or future tense.

Past tense: Mr Smith drove to work

 

Subject-verb agreement: In English, there is a rule that verbs must agree with their subjects in number and person.

He drives to work. He is driving to work.

Adjectives

Adjectives are words that are used to describe nouns. They usually give more information about the nouns, and answer questions such as: “What kind?” “Which one?” “How many?” “How much?”

Example: The red bus, the unscheduled meeting

Adverbs

Adverbs are words that give more information about verbs. They answer questions such as: “How?” “Where?” “When?” “To what extent?”

Example: The meeting was promptly adjourned.

Prepositions

A preposition is used to describe the relationship between a noun (or pronoun) and another word or phrase in a sentence.

Example: She found the report on her desk

Conjunctions

Conjunctions are joining words. They are used to join words, phrases and clauses in a sentence. The most frequently-used conjunctions include: and, but, for, nor, or, yet.

Example: She works in sales and marketing. 

 

If you want to read more about parts of speech, you can click on the following links:

 

In the next part of this series, we’ll be covering Basic Punctuation.

 

In the meantime, if you have any questions about parts of speech, please leave us a comment in the box below!