Community Writing Workshop

Introduction – Parts of Speech
Community Writing Workshop

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Parts of Speech definition: A category to which a word is assigned in accordance with its syntactic functions.

Syntax definition: syntax is a set of rules in a language. It dictates how words from different parts of speech are put together in order to convey a complete thought.

All grammatically correct sentences must contain a subject and a verb.

The parts of speech are important because they show us how words relate to each other.

For example, let’s take the words Paul, home and ran.

Now, they are just words, they don’t really tell us anything alone.

Now if we assign each word a role (a part of speech) and put them into a sentence, we actually get something meaningful:

Paul ran home.

Paul = subject
ran = verb
home = noun

Here is another example:

• cake, Tiffany, all, ate, the

Now, they are just words, they don’t really tell us anything alone.

Now if we assign each word a role (a part of speech) and put them into a sentence, we actually get something meaningful:

Tiffany ate all the cake

Tiffany = subject
ate = verb
all = adverb (used for emphasis).
the = definite article (determiner)
cake = noun

definite article = the word the used in English to refer to a person or thing that is identified or specified.

Indefinite article = a, an (in English)

• “I was overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity from the locals”, said Lisa.

So as you see, the role of the word in a sentence (which part of speech it is) actually helps to understand the sentence.

The 8 parts of speech is a way to describe the function of words in the English language. The 8 parts of speech =

Noun
Verb
Adjective
Adverb
Pronoun
Preposition
Conjunction
Interjection

Remember every word in a sentence can be defined as one of the 8 parts of speech.

Question

  1. Does anyone here have a favorite part of speech? (Audience participation)
  2. Does anyone know why we call it parts of speech rather than parts of writing? (Audience participation)

Answer: Because from the beginning of time, humans first communicated through speech by talking, and later learned to communicate through writing.

  1. Noun = words that name or describe people, places and things. Nouns can name feelings or ideas as well. Nouns are the only one of the 8 parts of speech that take apostrophes.

Noun examples

• coat
• computer
• car
• makeup

Nouns only change in two ways: either we add an “s” at the end to signify that there is more than one, or we add an apostrophe plus an “s” to signify a relationship of possession.

  1. Verbs = are action words in a sentence that describe what the subject is doing. Without a verb, full thoughts can’t be properly conveyed. Even the simplest sentences have one.

Examples

• Paul ran.
• She cooks
• He swam

Here are a few verbs

• ask
• attend
• blush
• call
• clean
• dance
• work

The dog ran after the ball.

dog = subject
ran = verb

In the above sentence the dog is the subject and ran is the verb. All sentences must contain a subject and a verb. Verbs are sometimes referred to as the predicate in a sentence.

The predicate is the part of a sentence that includes the verb and verb phrase.

Example

• The children went to the park.

In the above sentence (went to the part) = the predicate and verb phrase.

  1. Adjectives = provide more information about a person, place, or thing.
    Adjective modifies (limits or describes) a noun or a pronoun.

Example

• The loquacious child

loquacious = adjective being used to describe the child.

child = noun

Loquacious definition: tending to talk a great deal; talkative.

Another example

• She is beautiful

beautiful = adjective being used to modify the pronoun.

She = pronoun

  1. Adverb = Similar to adjectives modify nouns and pronouns, an adverb modifies a verb.

Example

• Paul ran quickly to the door.

In the above sentence the word quickly serves as an adverb because it describes how Paul ran.

quick = verb
quickly = adverb

Let’s try another example

Michael bravely stood up to the bullies in his class.

In the above sentence the word bravely serves as an adverb because it describes the verb brave.

brave = verb
bravely = adverb

Please remember that not all adverbs in with the letters (ly).

Examples

• very
• never
• always

  1. Pronoun = is a word that is used to replace a noun. For example, instead of saying Paul likes candy, we can use He as a substitute for Paul. Here are a list of common pronouns

• I, you, he, she, it, yours, my, they etc..

Another example

• Paul and Jennifer both like candy.

In the above sentence example we will replace the nouns Paul and Jennifer with the pronoun They.

• They both like candy.

In the above sentence,

• They = subject

• like = verb
• both like candy = verb phrase/predicate

  1. Preposition

A preposition is a word used to link nouns, pronouns, or phrases to other words within a sentence. They act to connect the people, objects, time and locations of a sentence. Prepositions are usually short words, and they are normally placed directly in front of nouns. Prepositions are words that help glue a sentence together. Prepositions tell you where something is or when something happened. Ending a sentence with a preposition is not a grammatical error.

Example

• I prefer to read in the Library.

In the above sentence example

• in = preposition

Another example

• Go downstairs and through the door.

In the above sentence example

• down = preposition
• through = preposition

Another example

• Tiffany went up the stairs.

In the above sentence example

• up = preposition

Rules for using prepositions =

  1. Prepositions must be used to make the relationships between words in a sentence clear.

Examples

• I paid the bill by check.
• I really need to go on a diet.

In the above sentence examples

by = preposition
on = preposition

check = noun
diet = noun

An easy way to remember prepositions – Prepositions are anywhere a mouse can go, i.e.,- above, below, next to, between, beyond, through, by, with etc.

  1. Conjunction

A conjunction is a word that connects two parts of a sentence. The very common word and is a conjunction.

Conjunctions have an important function because they join other words and phrases together. Without conjunctions, we could only make very, very simple sentences.

Examples

• Peanut butter and jelly. (joins two words)

• Down the stairs and next to the door. (joins two phases)

• Paul likes cake and Jennifer likes candy. (joins two clauses)

Always remember the

COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS also known as (FANBOYS).

for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so = coordinating conjunctions

Examples

• Lisa went to the ATM and withdrew one hundred dollars.

In the above sentence the conjunction and connects the independent clause to the dependent clause.

Another example

• My husband works hard so we can afford to pay our bills.

In the above sentence example the conjunction so connects the two thoughts.

  1. Interjections

The interjection is a part of speech which is more commonly used in informal language than in formal writing or speech. Basically, the function of interjections is to express emotions or sudden bursts of feelings.

Interjections are words that you can use to express a strong sense of emotion or feeling. An interjection is usually just a single word – and Although they may seem trivial, the reality is that this part of speech is very important because it can sometimes be difficult to express emotions in written language.

Interjections are usually placed at the beginning of a sentence and can be followed by a exclamation point.

Examples

• “Ouch! That really hurt.”

• “Wow, you’re so beautiful!”

• “Yuck, that tastes bitter.”

Adjectives can be used as interjections:

Examples

• “Awesome! I’ll call you at three o’clock.”

• “Great! Let’s meet for dinner later.”

• “Oops! I didn’t mean to step on the dog’s tail.”

Here is a list of some common interjections:

• Duh
• Oh
• Oops
• Ha
• Yikes
• Whoa
• Geez
• Yum
• Eh
• Wow
• Yippee

It is fundamental that you learn parts of speech. An in-depth knowledge of each of the 8 parts of speech will not only make you a better writer, but an effective communicator as well. From time to time please review the information contained in this workshop.

This concludes this workshop on the introduction to Parts of Speech. Now it’s time to test your knowledge on Parts of Speech. (Oral Quiz)

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