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Parts of Speech

Parts of Speech



Nouns

Nouns


A noun names a person, a place, a thing, or an idea.

PERSONS accountant, neighbor, athlete, George Washington Carver
PLACES library, gymnasium, village, South Dakota
THINGS calendar, shelves, streetlight, Declaration of Independence
IDEAS truth, self-awareness, humor, belief, Confucianism

Common Nouns and Proper Nouns

Common Nouns and Proper Nouns


A common noun names any one of a group of persons, places, things, or ideas. A common noun is capitalized only when it begins a sentence or is part of a title. 

A proper noun names a particular person, place, thing, or idea. A proper noun is always capitalized.

COMMON NOUNS monarch, state, era, treaty
PROPER NOUNS Queen Anne, Alaska, Renaissance, Treaty of Versailles

Concrete Nouns and Abstract Nouns

Concrete Nouns and Abstract Nouns


A concrete noun names a person, a place, or a thing that can be perceived by one or more of the five senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell). 

An abstract noun names an idea, feeling, quality, or characteristic that cannot be perceived by one or more of the five senses.

CONCRETE NOUNS screen, Munich, Kobe Bryant, cactus
ABSTRACT NOUNS dedication, courtesy, satisfaction, leisure

Collective Nouns

Collective Nouns


The singular form of a collective noun names a group. Some collective nouns are family, team, council, audience, and herd.

EXAMPLES 
  • The shepherd tended the flock that was grazing in the pasture. [Flock names a group of animals.]
  • The committee voted for the proposal. [Committee names a group of people.]

Compound Nouns

Compound Nouns


A compound noun is made up of two or more words that together name a person, a place, a thing, or an idea. A compound noun may be written as one word, as two or more separate words, or as a hyphenated word.

ONE WORD raindrop, flagship, playground, swordfish, Iceland
SEPARATE WORDS civil liberty, assistant professor, Cape Verde, rock salt
HYPHENATED WORD out-of-towner, make-believe, two-by-fours

Singular Nouns and Plural Nouns

Singular Nouns and Plural Nouns


Singular nouns are nouns that refer to only one person, place or thing. 

A plural noun refers to more than one of something. Many singular nouns just need an S added at the end to make them plural (e.g., bee becomes bees). For some nouns that already end with an S, you may need to add -es to the end to make their plural forms (e.g., classes and buses). Some singular nouns also change spelling when made plural (e.g. countries and babies).

Not all nouns follow this pattern. Those that become plural in other ways are called irregular plural nouns. Some examples are man and men, wolf and wolves, foot and feet, and sheep and … sheep.

SINGULAR NOUNS: house, cat, girl, foot, country
REGULAR PLURAL NOUNS: houses, cats, girls, countries
IRREGULAR PLURAL NOUNS: person and people life and lives mouse and mice tooth and teeth

Countable Nouns and Uncountable Nouns

Countable Nouns and Uncountable Nouns


A countable noun is one that you can count. When you have three books or 10 pennies, you are describing a noun that is countable.

An uncountable noun is one that cannot be counted. For example, happiness cannot be counted. You don’t say that you have “a happiness” or “three happinesses.” Uncountable nouns typically don’t have plural forms.

COUNTABLE NOUNS: table, apple, rabbit, ear
UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS: salt, seafood, luggage, advice

Nouns Quiz

Nouns Quiz


Decide what kind is the bold noun. Choose all that apply.

Pronouns

Pronouns


A pronoun takes the place of one or more nouns or pronouns.

An antecedent is the word or word group to which a pronoun refers.

EXAMPLES
  • The plate is chipped. I accidentally dropped it in the sink. [The pronoun it takes the place of plate. Plate is the antecedent of it.]
  • When Stephanie and Monica go hiking, they always follow the trails. [The pronoun they takes the place of the proper nouns Stephanie and Monica. Stephanie and Monica are the antecedents of they.]

Personal Pronouns

Personal Pronouns


A personal pronoun is a pronoun that refers to the one(s) speaking (first person), the one(s) spoken to (second person), or the one(s) spoken about (third person).

FIRST PERSON I, me, my, mine, we, us, our, ours
SECOND PERSON you, your, yours
THIRD PERSON he, him, his, she, her, hers, it, its, they, them, their, theirs

Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns

Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns


A reflexive pronoun refers to the subject of a verb. A reflexive pronoun completes the meaning of the verb or acts as an object of a preposition.
An intensive pronoun emphasizes its antecedent (the noun or pronoun to which the pronoun refers). Reflexive and intensive pronouns end in –self or –selves.

REFLEXIVE
  • Clara let herself in through the front door. [Herself refers to the subject Clara and completes the meaning of the verb let.]
  • The raccoon kept the fish for itself. [Itself refers to the subject raccoon and is the object of the preposition for.]
INTENSIVE
  • The manager himself made the delivery. [Himself emphasizes the antecedent manager.]
To determine whether a pronoun is reflexive or intensive, read the sentence aloud without the pronoun. Does the meaning of the sentence change without the pronoun? If the meaning of the sentence changes without the pronoun, the pronoun is reflexive. If the meaning of the sentence stays the same, the pronoun is intensive.

EXAMPLES
  • He prepared the salad himself. [Without himself, the meaning of the sentence does not change. Himself is intensive.]
  • He prepared the salad for himself. [The sentence doesn’t make sense without the pronoun. Himself is reflexive.]

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative Pronouns


A demonstrative pronoun points out a noun or another pronoun. Demonstrative pronouns are this, that, these, and those. This and that point out singular nouns and pronouns. These and those refer to plural nouns and pronouns.

EXAMPLES
  • Are these the only flavors available? [These points out a plural noun, flavors.]
  • This is the one that I built. [This points out a singular pronoun, one.]
The same words that are used as demonstrative pronouns can also be used as adjectives. When these words describe nouns or pronouns, they are called demonstrative adjectives.

PRONOUN
  • This is my favorite song. [This is a pronoun referring to song.]
ADJECTIVE
  • This song is my favorite. [This is an adjective describing which song.]

Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative Pronouns


An interrogative pronoun introduces a question. Interrogative pronouns are who, whom, whose, which, and what.

EXAMPLES
  • Whose are these sandals?
  • What is the name of your company?
  • To whom should I address this letter?
NOTE

Some of the words used as interrogative pronouns can also function as adjectives. Remember that a pronoun takes the place of a noun or another pronoun. An adjective makes the meaning of a noun or a pronoun more specific.

PRONOUN
  • Which of these handbags belongs to her? [Which is an interrogative pronoun that refers to handbags, the object of the preposition of.]
ADJECTIVE
  • Which handbag belongs to her? [Which is an adjective describing handbag.]

Relative Pronouns

Relative Pronouns


A relative pronoun introduces a subordinate clause. Relative pronouns include that, which, who, whom, and whose.

EXAMPLES
  • The person who scores the most points wins the game. [The relative pronoun who introduces the subordinate clause who scores the most points.]
  • The milk that is in the refrigerator is fresh. [The relative pronoun that introduces the subordinate clause that is in the refrigerator.]
  • Brie, which is a type of cheese, is made in France. [The relative pronoun which introduces the subordinate clause which is a type of cheese.]
REMINDER

A subordinate clause is a group of words that contains a subject and its verb but does not express a complete thought. A subordinate clause cannot stand alone as a sentence.

SUBORDINATE CLAUSE
  • that darted under the board [The group of words contains a subject, that, and a verb, darted, but does not express a complete thought.]
SENTENCE
  • Did you see the salamander that darted under the board? [The subordinate clause is introduced by the relative pronoun that and is part of a complete sentence.]

Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite Pronouns


An indefinite pronoun refers to a person, a place, a thing, or an idea that may or may not be specifically named. An indefinite pronoun may not have a specific antecedent.

COMMON INDEFINITE PRONOUNS
  1. all
  2. both
  3. few
  4. nobody
  5. several
  6. another
  7. each
  8. many
  9. none
  10. some
  11. any
  12. either
  13. more
  14. no one
  15. somebody
  16. anybody
  17. everybody
  18. most
  19. nothing
  20. someone
  21. anyone
  22. everyone
  23. much
  24. one
  25. something
  26. anything
  27. everything
  28. neither
  29. other
  30. such
EXAMPLES

  • Several of our neighbors signed the petition. [The indefinite pronoun Several refers to neighbors.]
  • Does anyone have a question? [Anyone has no specific antecedent.]
  • I have received replies from some of the people I invited. [Some refers to people.]

Pronouns Quiz

Pronouns Quiz

Label each bold pronoun as personal, reflexive, intensive, demonstrative, interrogative, relative, or indefinite.

Adjectives

Adjectives

An adjective modifies a noun or a pronoun. 
Adjectives tell what kind, which one, how many, or how much about a noun or pronoun. 

WHAT KIND     mountainous landscape 
WHICH ONE     last chance 
HOW MANY     three minutes 
HOW MUCH     enough equipment 

Predicate adjectives describe the subject of the sentence and appear in the predicate. 

EXAMPLE 
  • The travelers felt weary and uncomfortable. [The adjectives weary and uncomfortable appear in the predicate. Both adjectives describe travelers.]

Articles

Articles


A, an, and the, called articles, are the most frequently used adjectives. A and an refer to any member of a general group and are called indefinite articles. The is the definite article because it refers to a specific person, place, thing, or idea.

EXAMPLE 
  • An owl landed on the tree branch. [An refers to a member of a general group, owl. The refers to a specific thing, branch.]

Proper Adjectives

Proper Adjectives


A proper adjective is an adjective that is formed from a proper noun.

PROPER NOUN 
  • Look at this satellite photograph of the United States. [United States is a proper noun.] 
PROPER ADJECTIVE 
  • She is going to become a United States citizen. [United States is a proper adjective telling what kind of citizen.]

Adjectives Quiz

Adjectives Quiz


Verbs

Verbs

A verb expresses action or a state of being.

ACTION The sea often inspires wonder in writers and artists. BEING The oceans are broad and deep.

Main Verbs and Helping Verbs

Main Verbs and Helping Verbs


A verb phrase is made up of at least one main verb and one or more helping verbs.

EXAMPLES 
  • Have we considered other options? [Considered is the main verb. Have is a helping verb.] 
  • The nurses are currently working at their stations. [Working is the main verb. Are is a helping verb.] 
  • Andrea should have been sleeping. [Sleeping is the main verb. Should, have, and been are helping verbs.]
Common helping verbs include forms of be, forms of have, forms of do, and modals. 

BE am, are, be, been, being, is, was, were 
HAVE had, has, have 
DO do, does, did 
MODALS can, could, may, might, must, shall, should, will, would

REMINDER

A modal is a helping verb that is used with a main verb to express an attitude such as necessity or possibility. 

EXAMPLES 
  • We must leave this afternoon. [Must expresses necessity.] 
  • If you shop carefully, you may find a bargain. [May expresses possibility.]
A helping verb may be separated from the main verb. 

EXAMPLES 
  • Has the mail arrived yet? 
  • Do you know the way there?
NOTE

The words never and not, including the contraction –n’t, are adverbs that tell to what extent. They are not part of the verb phrase.

EXAMPLES 
  • I have never been to Florida. [Never is an adverb that modifies have beenIt is not part of the verb phrase.] 
  • Doesn’t that building look ancient? [The contraction for not, –n’t, is an adverb that modifies Does lookIt is not part of the verb phrase.]

Action Verbs

Action Verbs

An action verb expresses either physical or mental activity. 

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY lift jog listen paint 
MENTAL ACTIVITY remember concentrate realize dream

EXAMPLES 
  • Benjamin wrote a short story and sold it to a magazine. [Wrote and sold are action verbs that describe Benjamin’s physical activities.] 
  • Dena considered the benefits of investing. [Considered is an action verb describing Dena’s mental activity.]

Linking Verbs

Linking Verbs

A linking verb connects the subject to a word or word group that identifies or describes the subject. This word or word group is called a subject complement. Some common linking verbs are the forms of be as well as appear, become, feel, grow, look, remain, seem, smell, sound, stay, taste, and turn.

EXAMPLES 
  • The little boy is shy. [Is, a form of be, is a linking verb that connects the subject boy to the subject complement shy. Shy describes boy.] 
  • Following a runoff election, she became mayor. [Became is a linking verb that connects the subject she to the subject complement mayor. Mayor identifies she.]
TIP
Some verbs may be used as linking verbs or as action verbs. To determine whether a verb in a sentence is a linking verb, substitute a form of the verb be or seem. If the sentence makes sense with a form of be or seem, the verb is probably a linking verb.

LINKING 
  • The apple cider tasted great. [The apple cider was great makes sense. Tasted is a linking verb.] 
ACTION 
  • Jeff tasted the apple cider. [The sentence does not make sense with the verb was or seemed. Tasted is an action verb.]

Transitive Verbs

Transitive Verbs

A transitive verb has an object. An object is a word or word group that tells who or what receives the action of the verb. 

EXAMPLES 
  • We built a birdhouse. [The object birdhouse receives the action of the verb built.] 
  • Have you memorized the poem and the name of its author? [The objects poem and name receive the action of the verb Have memorized.]

Intransitive Verbs

Intransitive Verbs

An intransitive verb does not have an object

EXAMPLES 
  • The baby drew clumsily. [Drew does not have an object. Clumsily is an adverb describing how the baby drew.] 
  • Everyone shouted and jumped for joy. [Shouted and jumped do not have objects. Joy is the object of the preposition for.]
NOTE
Although action verbs may be transitive or intransitive, linking verbs and state-of-being verbs are always intransitive. Linking verbs and state-of-being verbs never have direct objects. 

EXAMPLES 
  • The basket is in the kitchen. 
  • The bear became slightly agitated. 
  • I feel much better now. 
  • That sounds like fun.
Many verbs can be either transitive or intransitive, depending on how they are used in a sentence. 

TRANSITIVE 
  • The candidate won the election. [Election is the object receiving the action of the verb won.] 

INTRANSITIVE 
  • The candidate won by a landslide. [Won does not have an object. Landslide is the object of the preposition by.]
TIP
Most dictionaries indicate whether verbs are used transitively or intransitively. To determine whether a verb is transitive or intransitive, find the definition of the verb as you intend to use it. Then, look for one of these symbols: vt for verb transitive or vi for verb intransitive.

Verbs Quiz

Verbs Quiz

Decide what kind is the underlined verb.


Adverbs

Adverbs

An adverb modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.

An adverb tells how, when, where, or to what extent (how much, how often, or how long).

EXAMPLES 
  • The surgeon proceeded cautiously. [how] 
  • They work here. [where] 
  • She understood the instructions entirely. [to what extent]

Adverbs Modifying Verbs

Adverbs Modifying Verbs

Adverbs are used most often to modify verbs. An adverb makes the meaning of a verb more specific. 

EXAMPLE 
  • She did not explain the instructions clearly. [The adverbs not and clearly describe the verb phrase did explain by telling how.]

Adverbs Modifying Adjectives

Adverbs Modifying Adjectives

An adverb makes the meaning of an adjective more specific. 

EXAMPLES 
  • The students were quite inventive with their projects. [The adverb quite describes the adjective inventive by telling to what extent.] 
  • An exceptionally musical child, Dinah played the piano at an early age. [The adverb exceptionally describes the adjective musical by telling to what extent.]

Adverbs Modifying Other Adverbs

Adverbs Modifying Other Adverbs

An adverb makes the meaning of another adverb more specific. 

EXAMPLES 
  • Is it too late to sign up for tryouts? [The adverb too modifies the adverb late by telling to what extent.] 
  • A beginner, he plays the guitar remarkably well. [The adverb remarkably modifies the adverb well by telling to what extent.]

Adverbs Quiz

Adverbs Quiz

Choose the word that is an adverb.

Prepositions

Prepositions

A preposition shows the relationship of a noun or pronoun, called the object of the preposition, to another word.

Some common prepositions are about, above, across, at, before, behind, between, by, down, during, for, from, in, like, near, of, on, out, past, throughout, under, upon, with, and without.

The preposition in each of the following sentences shows the relationship between plants and greenhouse. Greenhouse is the object of each preposition.

EXAMPLES 
  • The plants inside the greenhouse are on sale. 
  • The plants behind the greenhouse are on sale. 
  • The plants near the greenhouse are on sale.
A preposition that consists of two or more words is a compound preposition. Some common compound prepositions are according to, along with, apart from, aside from, as of, because of, in addition to, in front of, in place of, instead of, next to, on account of, and out of.

EXAMPLES 
  • I sat next to the window. 
  • In front of the store are several parking spaces.
The object of a preposition is a noun, a pronoun, or a word group that functions as a noun. A preposition, its object, and any modifiers of the object form a prepositional phrase.

EXAMPLES 
  • Did you put the flowers in cold water? [In cold water is a prepositional phrase. In is the preposition, water is the object of the preposition, and cold is an adjective modifying water.] 
  • Maybe the car is parked next to it. [Next to it is a prepositional phrase. Next to is the compound preposition, and it is the object of the preposition.]

Adverb or Preposition?

Adverb or Preposition?

Some words that can be used as prepositions may also be used as adverbs. Remember that an adverb is a modifier and does not have an object. Prepositions always have objects. 

PREPOSITION 
  • I stood outside my house. [Outside has an object, house.] 

ADVERB 
  • I stood outside. [Outside is an adverb describing stood.] 

PREPOSITION 
  • We walked around the airport. [Around has an object, airport.] 

ADVERB 
  • We walked around. [Around is an adverb describing walked.]

Adverb or Preposition? Quiz

Adverb or Preposition?

Choose whether the underlined word in each of the following sentences is a preposition or adverb.

Interjections

Interjections

An interjection expresses emotion and has no grammatical relation to the rest of the sentence.

Some interjections are ah, alas, hey, oh, oops, ouch, well, whew, and yeah.

An interjection is often set off from the rest of the sentence by an exclamation point or by one or more commas. An exclamation point indicates strong emotion. A comma indicates mild emotion.


EXAMPLES 
  • Oh, no! I locked my keys in the car! [Oh, no expresses strong emotion.] 
  • Well, we can always get tickets later. [Well expresses mild emotion.]

Interjections Quiz

Interjections

Choose strong if the interjection indicates strong emotion or mild if the interjection indicates mild emotion.

Conjunctions

Conjunctions

A conjunction joins words or word groups.

Coordinating and Correlative Conjunctions

Coordinating and Correlative Conjunctions

A coordinating conjunction joins words or word groups that are used in the same way. The coordinating conjunctions are and, but, for, nor, or, so, and yet. 

EXAMPLES 
  • In the morning, the team jogs and does sit-ups. [And joins two verbs, jogs and does.] 
  • Your keys are in your purse or on the table. [Or joins two phrases, in your purse and on the table.] 
  • It’s raining, so the seats are wet. [So joins two clauses, It’s raining and the seats are wet.]
Correlative conjunctions are pairs of conjunctions that join words or word groups that are used in the same way. The correlative conjunctions are both . . . and, either . . . or, neither . . . nor, not only . . . but also, and whether . . . or.

EXAMPLES 
  • Both Tiffany and Russell are from Denver. [Both . . . and joins two nouns, Tiffany and Russell.] 
  • Not only did we discover a boat, but we also found oars and a life preserver. [Not only . . . but also joins two clauses, did we discover a boat and we found oars and a life preserver.]

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating Conjunctions

A subordinating conjunction begins a subordinate clause and connects that clause to an independent clause. Some commonly used subordinating conjunctions are after, although, because, before, how, if, in order that, so that, unless, until, whenever, whether, and while.

EXAMPLES 
  • We left early because the weather was bad. [Because begins the subordinate clause because the weather was bad and connects it to the independent clause.] 
  • If the weather is bad, we’ll leave early. [If introduces the subordinate clause If the weather is bad. The subordinate clause is connected to the independent clause.]

Conjunctions Quiz

Conjunctions Quiz

Choose what type is the bold conjunction.

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