since 1997, the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English

Parts of Speech

What is a Part of Speech?

We can categorize English words into 9 basic types called "parts of speech" or "word classes". It's quite important to recognize parts of speech. This helps you to analyze sentences and understand them. It also helps you to construct good sentences.

Parts of Speech Table

This is a summary of the 9 parts of speech*. You can find more detail if you click on each part of speech.

part of speech function or "job" example words example sentences
Verb action or state (to) be, have, do, like, work, sing, can, must EnglishClub is a web site. I like EnglishClub.
Noun thing or person pen, dog, work, music, town, London, teacher, John This is my dog. He lives in my house. We live in London.
Adjective describes a noun good, big, red, well, interesting My dogs are big. I like big dogs.
Determiner limits or "determines" a noun a/an, the, 2, some, many I have two dogs and some rabbits.
Adverb describes a verb, adjective or adverb quickly, silently, well, badly, very, really My dog eats quickly. When he is very hungry, he eats really quickly.
Pronoun replaces a noun I, you, he, she, some Tara is Indian. She is beautiful.
Preposition links a noun to another word to, at, after, on, but We went to school on Monday.
Conjunction joins clauses or sentences or words and, but, when I like dogs and I like cats. I like cats and dogs. I like dogs but I don't like cats.
Interjection short exclamation, sometimes inserted into a sentence oh!, ouch!, hi!, well Ouch! That hurts! Hi! How are you? Well, I don't know.
* Some grammar sources traditionally categorize English into 8 parts of speech. Others say 10. At EnglishClub, we use the more recent categorization of 9 parts of speech. Examples of other categorizations are:
  • Verbs may be treated as two different parts of speech:
    • lexical Verbs (work, like, run)
    • auxiliary Verbs (be, have, must)
  • Determiners may be treated as adjectives, instead of being a separate part of speech.

Parts of Speech Examples

Here are some examples of sentences made with different English parts of speech:

noun verb
John works.
noun verb verb
John is working.
pronoun verb noun
She loves animals.
noun verb noun adverb
Tara speaks English well.
noun verb adjective noun
Tara speaks good English.
pronoun verb preposition determiner noun adverb
She ran to the station quickly.
pron. verb adj. noun conjunction pron. verb pron.
She likes big snakes but I hate them.

Here is a sentence that contains every part of speech:

interjection pron. conj. det. adj. noun verb prep. noun adverb
Well, she and my young John walk to school slowly.

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 conjunction!
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.