Published on Brock University (http://brocku.ca)
The following English grammar information is edited from the University of Victoria Upper Intermediate Study Zone.
“Parts of speech” are the basic types of words that English has. Most grammar books say that there are eight parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections. There is one more type to add: articles.
It is important to be able to recognize and identify the different types of words in English so that you can understand grammar explanations and use the right word form in the right place. Here is a brief explanation of what the parts of speech are:
A noun is a naming word. It names a person, place, thing, idea, living creature, quality, or action.
Examples: cowboy, theatre, box, thought, tree, kindness, arrival
A verb is a word which describes an action (doing something) or a state (being something).
Examples: walk, talk, think, believe, live, like, want
An adjective is a word that describes a noun. It tells you something about the noun.
Examples: big, yellow, thin, amazing, beautiful, quick, important
An adverb is a word which usually describes a verb. It tells you how something is done. It may also tell you when or where something happened.
Examples: slowly, intelligently, well, yesterday, tomorrow, here, everywhere
A pronoun is used instead of a noun, to avoid repeating the noun.
Examples: I, you, he, she, it, we, they
A conjunction joins two words, phrases or sentences together.
Examples: but, so, and, because, or
A preposition usually comes before a noun, pronoun or noun phrase. It joins the noun to some other part of the sentence.
Examples: on, in, by, with, under, through, at
An interjection is an unusual kind of word, because it often stands alone. Interjections are words which express emotion or surprise, and they are usually followed by exclamation marks.
Examples: Ouch!, Hello!, Hurray!, Oh no!, Ha!
An article, sometimes called a determiner, is used to introduce a noun.
Examples: the, a, an
The following English language punctuation information is edited from the Purdue Online Writing Lab and the University of Sydney, UTS, Business School: Guide to Writing Assignments.
Sample Rules for Using Commas
The game was over, but the crowd refused to leave.
The student explained her question, yet the instructor still didn't seem to understand.
Yesterday was her brother's birthday, so she took him out to dinner.
a. Common starter words for introductory clauses that should be followed by a comma include after, although, as, because, if, since, when, while.
While I was eating, the cat scratched at the door.
Because her alarm clock was broken, she was late for class.
If you are ill, you ought to see a doctor.
When the snow stops falling, we'll shovel the driveway.
Sample Rules for Using Semicolons
Mary and I are going to ABC Industries in Winnipeg next week; we’ll make sure to meet up with Terry Jones, Lisa Mandel, and rest of the Innovations Team.
The sweaters we purchase-ordered today were purple, blue, and green; yellow, white, and red; and pink, black, and grey.
Sample Rules for Using Colons
Ten Keys to Successful Business Writing