The Parts of Speech
Each part of speech explains not what the word is, but how the word is used. In fact, the same word can be a noun in one sentence and a verb or adjective in another. The next examples show how the part of speech of a word can change from one sentence to the next. Following these examples is a series of sections on the individual parts of speech and an exercise.
|Books are made of ink, paper and glue.||In this sentence, books is a noun, the subject of the sentence.|
|Joe waits patiently while Bridget books the tickets.||Here books is a verb and its subject is Bridget.|
|We walk down the street.||In this sentence, walk is a verb and its subject is the pronoun we.|
|The letter carrier stood on the walk.||In this example, walk is a noun that is part of a prepositional phrase describing where the letter carrier stood.|
|The town council decided to build a new jail.||Here jail is a noun, which is the object of the infinitive phrase to build.|
|The police officer told us that if we did not leave immediately he would jail us.||Here jail is part of the compound verb would jail.|
|The parents heard high-pitched cries in the middle of the night.||In this sentence, cries is a noun acting as the direct object of the verb heard.|
|Their colicky baby cries all night long and all day long.||Here cries is a verb that describes the actions of the subject of the sentence, i.e. the baby.|
The next sections explain each of the parts of speech in detail. When you have finished looking at them, you might want to test yourself by trying the exercise.
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© Department of English, Faculty of Arts, University of Ottawa
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