We can categorize English words into 9 basic types called “parts of speech” or “word classes”. It’s quite important to recognize parts of speech. This helps you to analyze sentences and understand them. It also helps you to construct good sentences.
Parts of Speech Table
This is a summary of the 9 parts of speech*. You can find more detail if you click on each part of speech.
part of speech
function or “job”
action or state
(to) be, have, do, like, work, sing, can, must
EnglishClub is a web site. I like EnglishClub.
thing or person
pen, dog, work, music, town, London, teacher, John
This is my dog. He lives in my house. We live in London.
describes a noun
good, big, red, well, interesting
My dogs are big. I like big dogs.
limits or “determines” a noun
a/an, the, 2, some, many
I have two dogs and some rabbits.
describes a verb, adjective or adverb
quickly, silently, well, badly, very, really
My dog eats quickly. When he is very hungry, he eats really quickly.
replaces a noun
I, you, he, she, some
Tara is Indian. She is beautiful.
links a noun to another word
to, at, after, on, but
We went to school on Monday.
joins clauses or sentences or words
and, but, when
I like dogs and I like cats. I like cats and dogs. I like dogs but I don’t like cats.
short exclamation, sometimes inserted into a sentence
oh!, ouch!, hi!, well
Ouch! That hurts! Hi! How are you? Well, I don’t know.
Parts of Speech Examples
Here are some examples of sentences made with different English parts of speech:
Here is a sentence that contains every part of speech:
Words with More Than One Job
Many words in English can have more than one job, or be more than one part of speech. For example, “work” can be a verb and a noun; “but” can be a conjunction and a preposition; “well” can be an adjective, an adverb and an interjection. In addition, many nouns can act as adjectives.
To analyze the part of speech, ask yourself: “What job is this word doing in this sentence?”
In the table below you can see a few examples. Of course, there are more, even for some of the words in the table. In fact, if you look in a good dictionary you will see that the word “but” has six jobs to do:
verb, noun, adverb, pronoun, preposition and conjunction!