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Parts of speech facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Parts of speech , also known as word classes or grammatical categories are categories of words in grammar. There are many different word classes. The most common are of them are:

Part of Speech Function Example Words Example Sentence(s) Notes
Verb Identifies an action or state. (to) be, have, do, like, work, sing, can, must London is a big city. I like London. A verb has a subject, which is a noun performing the action. Some verbs also have an object, which receives the action. For example, in the sentence 'I like London', 'I' is the subject and 'London' is the object of the verb 'like'.
Noun Identifies a person, place or thing. pen, dog, work, music, town, London, teacher, John New York City is very beautiful. Proper nouns are a type of noun that refers to something individual. Two proper nouns are New York City and the name Amelia. Proper nouns are capitalized. Other nouns are called common nouns.
Adjective Describes a noun. a/an, the, 2 (two), some, good, big, red, interesting The cat is black and white. A/an, the, some, many are known as determiners.
Adverb Describes a verb, adjective or adverb. quickly, silently, well, badly, very, really The giraffe eats slowly, but when he is very hungry, he eats really quickly. Slowly describes the verb eat, very describes the adjective hungry and really describes the adverb quickly.
Pronoun Replaces a noun. I, you, he, she, some, it She is very good at playing the piano.
Preposition Links a noun to another word. to, at, after, on, under The dog is under the table.
The man ran over the bridge.
Under links the noun dog to the noun table.
Over links the verb ran to the noun bridge.
Conjunction Joins clauses, sentences or words. and, but, when, or I like apples and oranges, but I don't like grapes.
Interjection Short exclamation. oh!, ouch!, hi! Ouch! That really hurt!

Note: Article (the,a, an) is sometimes listed as a part of speech. However, most grammarians consider it to be a type of adjective or sometimes the term 'determiner' (a broader class) is used.

Almost all languages have nouns and verbs, but beyond these two word classes there are significant variations among different languages. For example:

  • Japanese has as many as three classes of adjectives, where English has one.
  • Many languages do not distinguish between adjectives and adverbs, or between adjectives and verbs.

English words are not generally marked as belonging to one part of speech or another; this contrasts with many other European languages. Many English words can belong to more than one part of speech. Words like neigh, break, outlaw, laser, microwave, and telephone might all be either verbs or nouns. In certain circumstances, even words with primarily grammatical functions can be used as verbs or nouns, as in, "We must look to the hows and not just the whys." The process whereby a word comes to be used as a different part of speech is called conversion or zero derivation.

Open and closed classes

Word classes may be either open or closed. An open class is one that accepts the addition of new words, while a closed class is one to which new items are very rarely added. Open classes normally contain large numbers of words, while closed classes are much smaller. Typical open classes found in English and many other languages are nouns, verbs (excluding auxiliary verbs, if these are regarded as a separate class), adjectives, adverbs and interjections. Typical closed classes are prepositions (or postpositions), determiners, conjunctions, and pronouns.

Words are added to open classes through such processes as compounding, derivation, coining, and borrowing. When a new word is added through some such process, it can subsequently be used grammatically in sentences in the same ways as other words in its class. A closed class may obtain new items through these same processes, but such changes are much rarer and take much more time. A closed class is normally seen as part of the core language and is not expected to change. In English, for example, new nouns, verbs, etc. are being added to the language constantly (including by the common process of verbing and other types of conversion, where an existing word comes to be used in a different part of speech). However, it is very unusual for a new pronoun, for example, to become accepted in the language, even in cases where there may be felt to be a need for one, as in the case of gender-neutral pronouns.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Categoría gramatical para niños

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