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Parts of Speech

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When your teacher talks about ‘parts of speech’, they’re talking about the building blocks of the language. It’s important to know the different ‘types’ of words as soon as possible, because these basics will make it easier to learn more complex pieces of language, and follow more advanced lessons when you’re getting ready to study English abroad!


Nouns are used to identify/talk about people, places, and things. Common nouns are used to describe a category of person, place, or thing, for example toy, park, child.
E.g. The tall man walks his small dog in the street.

Proper nouns are the specific names of the nouns and always start with a capital letter.
E.g. John walks his dog, Rufus, on Hastings Street.
In the example above, dog is still a common noun, however his name is a proper noun.


To avoid repeating a noun too many times, we use pronouns. A pronoun (I, me, he, she, herself, you, it, they, each, few, many, who, whoever, whose, someone, everybody…) takes the place of a noun.

E.g. That’s John. John walks his dog quickly.
       That’s John. He walks his dog quickly!


A verb is an action word and generally indicates some sort of movement or activity.

E.g. He walks his dog quickly!


An adverb describes the way in which an action is done. These words often end in –ly but that is not always the case.

E.g. He walks his dog quickly! (How does he walk his dog? Quickly.)

In this example, the word quickly is being used to describe the action, or verb, walks.


Adjectives describe the characteristics of a noun or pronoun.

E.g. The man walks his dog in the street. (No adjectives)

       The tall man walks his small dog in the street. (with adjectives)

In this example, the man is being described as tall (not short, not average height) and his dog as small (not big, not average size).


We use prepositions (in, out, on, of, between, at, to, for, up, below…) to show the relationship between a noun and another word in the sentence. Remember that they usually indicate the position of something in relation to something else.

E.g. The tall man walks his small dog in the street.


A conjunction (and, but, or, so….) is used to join clauses, sentences, or words.

E.g. The tall man walks in the street. The tall man’s dog walks in the street too. (Longer; 2 sentences)

       The tall man and his dog walk in the street. (shorter; one sentence; more natural)


Interjections are short words or phrases used to express emotion, often surprise or excitement.

E.g. Wow! He walks quickly!


Now it’s your turn! Read the phrases below and identify the parts of speech. Don’t forget to share this lesson with your friends and leave us a comment telling us why you liked it!

Is Caroline coming to the party at school tonight? No, she is too tired and has to finish her homework quickly.

  • What word is acting as an adjective in this example?

  • What is the adverb?

  • What is the conjunction?

  • What is the preposition?