Parts of speech

Category of words based on shared grammatical properties in a clause

Parts of speech[1] are types of word in grammar. There are many different word categories: they are called 'lexical categories'. The most common are these:[2]

Part of SpeechFunctionExample WordsExample Sentence(s)Notes
VerbIdentifies an action or state.(to) be, have, do, like, work, sing, can, mustLondon is a big city. I like London.A verb has a subject, which is a noun performing the action. Some verbs also have an object, which receives the action.
NounIdentifies a person, place or thing.pen, dog, work, music, town, London, teacher, JohnNew York City is very beautiful.Proper nouns are a type of noun that refers to something individual. Two proper nouns are New York City and the name Amelia. Proper nouns are capitalized. Other nouns are called common nouns.
AdjectiveDescribes a noun.good, big, red, interestingThe cat is black and white.
AdverbDescribes a verb, adjective or adverb.quickly, silently, well, badly, very, reallyThe giraffe eats slowly, but when he is very hungry, he eats really quickly.Slowly describes the verb eat, very describes the adjective hungry and really describes the adverb quickly.
PronounReplaces a noun.I, you, he, she, some, itShe is very good at playing the piano.
PrepositionLinks a noun to another, at, after, on, underThe dog is under the table.
The man ran over the bridge.
Under links the noun dog to the noun table.
Over links the verb ran to the noun bridge.
ConjunctionJoins clauses, sentences or words.and, but, when, orI like apples and oranges, but I don't like grapes.
DeterminerHelps refer to a noun.the, a, an, my, your,this, thatThere is a drink on the table. It is my drink.
InterjectionShort exclamation.oh!, ouch!, hi!Ouch! That really hurt!

Open and closed classesEdit

Verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and interjections are called open classes because they are parts of speech that can easily add new words. On the other hand, pronouns, prepositions, and conjunctions are closed classes because new words cannot be added easily. For example, since pronouns are a closed class, there are fairly few pronouns: I, me, my, mine, myself, you, your, yours, yourself, he, him, his, his, himself, she, her, her, hers, herself, it, it, its, its, itself, we, us, our, ours, ourselves, they, them, their, theirs, themselves. Since pronouns are used to replace whole noun phrases, there is no need to have many kinds of pronouns. Instead of saying "The Earl of Sandwich introduced the Earl of Sandwich's favorite food, the sandwich", one uses the pronoun his to replace "the Earl of Sandwich's" to make the sentence not repeat itself when it doesn't have to, thus the sentence becomes "The Earl of Sandwich introduced his favorite food, the sandwich". New nouns, on the other hand, can easily be made, and are constantly being added into the English language.


  1. also called a word class, lexical class or lexical category.
  2. "Parts of Speech". English Club. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.

(Retrieved 17/03/2023)

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