Parts of speech

Have you ever heard the term parts of speech? It refers to the different types of words we use in sentences.

All words are categorised into different groups or parts of speech based on:

  • their meaning (the things or ideas they refer to)
  • their form (what they look like)
  • their function (what jobs they do in sentences).

<alt="page from an old dictionary showing the words, parts of speech">

What are the parts of speech?

In English, there are eight different parts of speech:

  1. nouns (words that name people, places, things or ideas)*
  2. pronouns (words that take the place of nouns)
  3. adjectives (words that describe nouns)
  4. verbs (words that indicate the action in a sentence)
  5. adverbs (words that tell us more about verbs)
  6. prepositions (words used with nouns or pronouns to indicate direction, location, or time)
  7. conjunctions (words that join two or more words, phrases and clauses)
  8. interjections (words used to show excitement or emotion).


  • Strictly speaking, there are only eight parts of speech in English, but some language experts regard the article (the, a and an) as the ninth part of speech.
  • Other experts view the article as an adjective because articles point to or relate to nouns.
  • What every your view is on this matter, it is safe to say that articles, despite their size, play in important role in language.

Examples in context

  1. The cat (noun) sat (verb) on (preposition) the mat (noun).
  2. They (pronoun) dived (verb) excitedly (adverb) into (preposition) the river (noun).
  3. Mount Everest (noun) is (verb) the highest (adjective) mountain (noun) in (preposition) the  world (noun).
  4. He (pronoun) lifted (verb) me (pronoun) up (preposition).
  5. It (pronoun) is (verb) a tiny (adjective) place (noun).
  6. Watch out (interjection)!

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