Parts of Speech

Learn how to identify the parts of speech so you can check word-level grammatical errors when editing your work or the work of others.

What are Parts of Speech?

Parts of Speech is a classification scheme developed by grammarians to account for the different ways words can function in a sentence.

There are 8 Parts of Speech in English:

Parts of SpeechGrammatical Function
1. Adjectivemodifies noun
2. Adverba word used to modify verbs and verb phrases
3. Conjunctionjoins words
4. Interjectionuse of punctuation to denote emotions
5. Noun Noun
6. Prepositionshows relationship
7. Pronouna word used to replace a noun
8. Verbaction or state of being

What do I Need to Know about Parts of Speech?

Even if you do not know how to identify the parts of speech in a sentence, you may be able to use those parts correctly. Or, you may not. The degree to which your innate sense of the parts of speech reflects the rules and conventions of Standard English depends on your linguistic history. How disparate was your home language from Standard English?

People learn the rules for combining words together in a sentence informally. As babies we learn from our parents, caregivers, and siblings. From personal experience, we learn how words function in a sentence.

However, there can be discrepancies between how we believe things are and how they really are. Our understanding of parts of speech may be wrong. We may be talking proud rather than talking proudly. We may be unaware of the conventions that govern the stylistic practices of communities of practice.

Declarative Knowledge about the parts of speech can help you become a better editor of your own writing and the writing of others. If you don’t understand parts of speech, then you be unable to identify problems with how you’ve constructed your sentences.

What is the Difference between Parts of a Sentence and Parts of Speech?

Parts of Speech concerns the grammar at the word level whereas the Parts of a Sentence concerns grammar at the sentence level.

Recommended Resources

Why is Grammar Important? NCTE Position Statement (National Council of Teachers of English. 7/1/2002.