Home / Writing Guides / How to Use Parts of Speech

How to Use Parts of Speech

There are eight parts of speech. Each part has a certain function, and they are all important in the English language.

Noun

A person or thing; name’s something

For example:

Marcie likes to jog.

School is hard.

Verb

Tells what is being done, usually an action or state of something

For example:

We walked through the snow up-hill both ways.

Cassidey woke up at 7:30 this morning!

Adjective

Describes a noun; answers the questions WHAT KIND, WHICH ONE, HOW MANY; descriptive words

For example:

The white dog had brown spots all over her. (What kind of dog? White. What kind of spots? Brown)

I have four super long papers that are due next week. (How many papers? Four. What kind of papers? Super, long.

Adverb

Explains how things are done; Tells you HOW, WHEN, or WHERE; usually ends in –ly

For example:

I slowly opened the creaky door to my room.

I always crave chocolate during the winter.

Pronoun

Replaces a noun

For example:

A man walked across the street. (noun)

He walked across the street. (pronoun)

Conjunctions

Joins together two sentences, words, or phrases.  There are three types of conjunctions: coordinating, subordinating, and correlative.

Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating Conjunctions are conjunctions that are used to combine two words, phrases, or independent clauses together.

Coordinating conjunctions include: and, but, or, for, yet, nor, so

For example:

The man walked the dog. The dog stopped by a fire hydrant.

The man walked the dog, and the dog stopped by a fire hydrant.

The cat and the dog fled into the night.

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are conjunctions that are used to combine an independent clause and a dependent clause (a phrase that cannot be a sentence on its own) together. Dependent clauses require an independent clause in order to become a sentence.

There are a variety of subordinating conjunctions. Here are a few of them: if, since, after, because.

These conjunctions do not have commas before them.

For example:

I did not go to the store because the store was on fire.

I thought about leaving since there was a turtle rampaging through the town.

 

Correlative Conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions act the same as coordinating conjunctions except they always come in pairs.

Here are a few examples: neither… nor…, both… and…, not only… but also…

For example:

Neither the mailman nor the doctor knew what to do today.

Not only did the monkey leave mud all over the carpet, but also ate all the bananas on the fateful night.

 

Prepositions

A preposition shows the relationship between a noun or a pronoun and some other word in the sentence. A prepositional phrase has a preposition which is followed by a noun or pronoun (object of the preposition).

For example:

The man ran around the curb.

The dog ate half of the muffin.

There are many types of prepositions such as spatial (describes the position of the noun), directional (describes the direction of the noun), chronological (describes the time the noun did the action), and possessive (describes who/what owned the noun).

Here is a list of a few of prepositions: with, on, for, after, at, by, in, near, against, between

For Example:

The box was near the wall. (spatial)

The cat sat towards the fish tank. (directional)

The cat jumped after it was startled. (chronological)

The owner of that dog ran across my yard today. (possessive)

Interjections

An interjections is a word or a phrase at the beginning that show emotion. Interjections are punctuated by being followed with either an exclamation mark or a comma depending on how much emotion they express.

For example:

Ouch! I bit my tongue.

Geez, he looks angry.

Wow! That alligator is chasing that poor man.

Click here for a print version of this page.