Do you know what nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are? What about pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions and determiners? When you learn a new word, do you learn what kind of word it is? Is this even important? Keep reading to find out!
Nouns, verbs and so on are called "parts of speech". These are the different kinds of words there are in English, or in any language, in fact.
It’s important to know about different kinds of words so that you can put them together correctly to make a sentence. A lot of mistakes that learners make are because they are using the wrong type of word. For example, they might confuse “different” and “difference”.
There are eight parts of speech that you need to know about:
1. Noun (n) = a thing, place or person
Examples: pen, table, kitchen, London, dog, teacher, Katie
2. Verb (v) = an action or a state
Examples: be, have, dance, read, sing, look, swim
3. Adjective (adj) = a word that describes a noun
Examples: big, blue, interesting, beautiful, stupid
4. Adverb (adv) = a word that describes a verb, adjective or another adverb, or sometimes a whole sentence. Adverbs tell you things like where, when, how or how often.
Examples: here, yesterday, slowly, often, very, fortunately
5. Pronoun (pron) = a word that can replace a noun
Examples: he, me, mine, which, those
6. Conjunction (conj) = a word that links words, phrases or sentences together
Examples: and, but, when, because, although, however
7. Preposition (prep) = a word that goes before a noun to link it to another word
Examples: at, on, between, with, about
8. Determiner (det) = a word that goes before a noun to tell you which one
Examples: a, the, this, my, one, some, many
Some books and websites list interjections as a ninth category (things like ouch and yuck). Others have articles rather than determiners as a category. But my list is the one most commonly used in books for English learners.
When you learn a new word, try to learn what kind of word it is, especially the nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. When you put new words into your vocabulary notebook, try to write down what kind of word it is too.
It's also a good idea to learn families of words with a similar meaning. Look at this example and see how the word changes the ending, depending on what kind of word it is:
However, sometimes one word can have two or more different meanings, depending on the context, sometimes similar but other times completely different. Try this little quiz.
What part of speech is each word?
Hint: there's more than one answer!
1. a fast car: adjective
drive fast: adverb
2. I wear a watch: noun
to watch TV: verb
3. a rose is a beautiful flower: noun
past tense of rise: verb
4. a fly is an insect: noun
to fly like a bird: verb
5. I am cold: adjective
I have a cold (= I'm sick): noun
6. I speak English: noun
I am English: adjective
7. a cook (a chef): noun
to cook dinner: verb
8. a smile: noun
to smile: verb
9. a drink: noun
to drink: verb
10. my second car: adjective
60 seconds in a minute: noun
come second in a race: adverb
to second an opinion: verb
11. a well is a place to get water: noun
I am well: adjective
He speaks well: adverb
12. an orange is a fruit: noun
the colour orange: noun
an orange sweater: adjective
If you would like to know more about learning and remembering vocabulary, I wrote this e-book for you:
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