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Essential English Grammar

English grammar

Essential English grammar — 6 parts of speech

To speak a language well, you need to know the “essentials” or the “basics” of the language. In English, the “six parts of speech” are the essential elements that make up essential English grammar.  

What are the six parts of speech? 

The six parts of speech are nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and verbs.

Some grammarians will dispute the exact number and will argue that articles and determiners should have separate categories, but for simplicity’s sake, we have decided to narrow it down to the traditional six parts of speech.

Knowing the six parts of speech

Fully learning how nouns, adjectives and other parts of speech function will take some time, however, let’s take a look at their definitions. In short, the six parts of speech can be defined as follows: 

  • Nouns: Nouns are people or things that are described by adjectives. 
  • Adjectives: adjectives are describing words. We use adjectives to describe nouns.
  • Adverbs: adverbs can modify adjectives, verbs and other adverbs. 
  • Prepositions: we use prepositions to connect a nominal (noun) or adjectival (adjective) compliment to the subject. 
  • Conjunctions: A conjunction is a word to connect words or phrases together. 
  • Verbs: Verbs are action or doing words that express an action. (We have created another section “verbs in English” where you can get a complete overview of how verbs function in English). 

Interjections*: Interjections are words that don’t have any grammatical function. These words are merely used as “fillers” to express emotions etc.

Using the six parts of speech in English grammar

As an English learner, knowing and being able to identify the six parts of speech is essential to be able to speak correctly and fluently. Knowing that adjectives, not adverbs, modify nouns is just one example. 

  • Kerry is a nice person. 

Instead of: 

  • Kerry is a nicely person. = X. 

Simply being able to identify that “person” is a noun and “nice” is an adjective will ensure that you speak and write properly. 

On the other hand, the adverb “nicely” would function if you were to use it to modify an adjective, verb or another adverb, for example: 

  • She’s working nicely

Here, the adverb “nicely” is modifying the verb “work”. 

These are simple examples, whereby being able to identify the function and usage of the six parts of speech (in these examples, adjectives and adverbs), will ensure that you use the language correctly. 

The end goal for every language learner is usually the same: speak English correctly with good pronunciation.