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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 conjuction!
word part of speech example
work noun My work is easy.
verb I work in London.
but conjunction John came but Mary didn't come.
preposition Everyone came but Mary.
well adjective Are you well?
adverb She speaks well.
interjection Well! That's expensive!
afternoon noun We ate in the afternoon.
noun acting as adjective We had afternoon tea.

Now check your understanding »

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