Reading & Writing Center
Parts of Speech
Every word belongs to a category of similar words; these categories are called parts of speech. Some words can belong to more than one part of speech depending on how they are used; for example, help can be an action or a thing. Below are descriptions major parts of speech, plus some special sub-categories of each one. You can browse through the categories or click on the links below to go the one you are interested in.
The major parts of speech are:
- conjunctions (coordinators and subordinators)
Nouns describe a person, place or thing.
Examples: Michelle Gonzales, doctor, friend, Joey, Americans, Livermore, bedroom, restaurant, table, dog, freedom
Joey goes to school in Livermore. Michelle Gonzales is his teacher. Ms. Gonzales taught him that Americans must value their freedom.
Special Types of Nouns
Pronouns: general nouns that stand in for specific ones
Examples: he, she, it, I, you, we, hers, us, their
Proper nouns: formal names that must be capitalized
Examples: Marty Nash, California, Joanna, Las Positas College, French
Joanne has been studying French because she would like to travel to France with us.
Verbs describe an action or state of being. Verbs tells what a subject (usually a noun) does or is.
Examples of action verbs: run, swim, prefer, contemplate, hit, kiss, think, imitate, reflect
Examples of being/linking verbs: is, was, were, became, seems
My sister has been very healthy since she was a teenager. She runs three miles every morning. She prefers vegetarian food because she believes that it is healthier than meat. Her health seems better since she started these good habits.
Adjectives are words that describe nouns.
Examples: beautiful, intelligent, purple, obnoxious, funny, confusing, delicious, abstract, excellent
Ruben is an intelligent man who has an excellent sense of humor. I would like to introduce him to my wonderful friend Celine because they both enjoy long novels and sweet desserts.
Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, or adverbs.
Examples of adverbs that describe vebs: quickly, hungrily, quietly, yesterday, sadly, outside, forever, well
Anita was very smart and extremely athletic. Her favorite sport was soccer, and she hoped to play forever. She could run quickly and pass well.
Conjunctions are linking words. There are two types of conjunctions:
Coordinating conjunctions link two ideas equally.
Examples: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so
Sophia loves dogs and cats. I love pets, but I am allergic to most of them.
Subordinating conjunctions link two ideas making one more important than the other.
Examples: because, although, when, which, if, while
Michelle can't eat nuts because she is allergic to them. Although she is allergic, she still loves nuts and wishes she could eat them.
Prepositions pair with a noun or noun phrase (a noun plus description) to add detail to the sentence.
Examples: to, from, on, between, of, during, despite, against, beside
Despite Pete's nervousness, he swung at the ball with his bat. It went flying over the fence and into the crowd.
Interjections are words expressing emotion.
Examples: wow, yikes, ouch, yum, good greif, well, hey, oh no
Good greif, I am exhausted. You think your job is hard, huh? Well, my job is delivering weights to gyms. Wow, those are heavy!