There is some debate regarding how many parts of speech there are in English. Traditional grammar focuses on eight basic categories. The part of speech that a word takes can vary based on its function in a sentence. We will be using the following sentence as an example to label the parts of speech: Oh, the black and yellow bee just flew quickly to its hive.

Adjectives: adjectives describe nouns. The answer generally answers one of the following questions: “what kind, how many, which one?” In our example sentence, the adjectives are “black” and “yellow.” They answer the questions “which bee?” (the black and yellow one) and “what kind of bee?” (a black and yellow one). Articles are a subcategory of adjectives, answering the question “which one?” English has three articles: the, a, an. In our example sentence, the article is “the” and answers the question “which bee?” (the bee).

Adverbs: adverbs describe or modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They answer one of the following questions: “how, when, where, how much?” In our example sentence, the first adverb is “just” and answers the question “when did the bee fly?” (just (now)). The second adverb is “quickly.” It answers the question “how did the bee fly?”

Conjunctions: conjunctions are used to link words, phrases, or clauses. In our example sentence, the conjunction is “and.” It links “black” and “yellow” as both describing the noun.

Interjections: interjections are words added to a sentence to convey emotion. They are generally used only in informal language. In our example sentence, the interjection is “oh.” It is used to indicate surprise that the bee just left.

Nouns: nouns are either a person, place, thing, or idea. The subject of a sentence, direct object, indirect object, and object of the preposition are always nouns or pronouns. In our example sentence, the noun is “bee.” Bee is also the subject of this sentence.

Pronouns: pronouns take the place of nouns in a sentence. They can be used anywhere that a noun can be used, except following an article. Using pronouns simplifies a sentence and allows the speaker/writer to avoid repeating the same noun again and again. In our example sentence, the pronoun is “his” and it takes the place of “bee’s.”

Prepositions: prepositions link nouns, pronouns, and phrases to other parts of the sentence. They often indicate time, position, or logical relationships. In our example sentence, the preposition is “to.” It tells use how the hive is related to the verb to fly.

Verbs: verbs indicate the action in a sentence. They say something about the noun. The main very (or predicate) is arguably the most important part of a sentence. In our example, the verb is “flew.” It tells us what the bee (the subject) did. The various forms of “to be” (am, is, were, etc) can be used as the main verb of a sentence as well. For more click here!

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