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How to Identify the Parts of Speech

Part of the Vocabulary For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you’re increasing your vocabulary and adding new words to your repertoire, you need to know the part of speech the words belong to so that you can use them correctly. The following list shows the eight parts of speech in English. Note that some words, like open or yellow, can be used as more than one part of speech.

  • Nouns: Words that name a person, place, thing, or idea (sofa, democracy)

    Proper nouns — specific names of people and places, such as Peyton Manning and Indianapolis — are capitalized.

  • Pronouns: Words that take the place of a noun or another pronoun (I, you, me, he, she, it, we, who, they)

    Possessive pronouns show ownership: my/mine, your/yours, their/theirs, our/ours.

  • Adjectives: Words that describe nouns and pronouns (red, more, second, several)

  • Verbs: Words that name an action or describe a state of being (run, seem)

  • Adverbs: Words that describe verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs (yesterday, below, happily, partly)

  • Conjunctions: Words that connect words or groups of words and show how they are related (and, or, for, but, after, although, because)

  • Prepositions: Words that link a noun or pronoun to another word in the sentence (by, about, behind, above, across, at, with)

  • Interjections: Words that show strong emotion (Oh! Wow!)

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