All English words are classified into eight classes. These eight classes are called eight parts of speech or word classes in English grammar. They are nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections. Some classify determiners as a separate part of speech thus listing nine parts of speech. Determiners are listed as adjectives in the classification of eight parts of speech. Words that belong to a particular part of speech are used in the same way. They have the same grammatical functions in sentences.
Eight Parts of Speech :
1. Nouns : All naming words are called nouns. Whether they refer to persons, places, things, events or ideas, they are all nouns.
John is a boy.
Mumbai is a city.
Where is the chair ?
Love is a divine quality.
John, boy, Mumbai, city, chair, love, quality are nouns here for they refer to persons, places, things and ideas.
2. Pronouns : Pronouns are used in place of nouns or noun equivalents to avoid their repetition.
Ajoy came here today. He is a good boy.
Ankita lives in Kolkata. She is a good student.
I met Dr. Baruah. He is a cardiologist.
The boys have returned. They went to Chennai.
He, she, he, they are pronouns here for they are used in place of the nouns 'Ajoy', 'Ankita', 'Dr. Baruah' and 'the boys'.
3. Adjectives : Adjectives are words that modify the meanings of nouns or pronouns. They tell us about the quality, quantity, number, state etc of the nouns or pronouns.
Ramen is a good boy.
She is a beautiful girl.
I have some money.
He took three books.
They are angry.
'Good', 'beautiful', 'some' and 'three' are adjectives here for they modify the nouns 'boy', 'girl', 'money' and 'books'. 'Angry' in the last sentence modifies the pronoun 'they'.
4. Verbs : Verbs denote actions. All types of action come under the category 'verbs'.
He eats rice.
I play football everyday.
They are running.
I can see it.
'Eat', 'play', 'running' and 'see' are verbs for they denote actions.
5. Adverbs : Words that modify adjectives, verbs or other adverbs are called adverbs.
He is a very good boy.
He runs fast.
He is running very fast.
'Very' modifies the adjective 'good'. 'Fast' and 'quickly' modify the verbs 'run' and 'go' respectively. 'Very' in the last sentence modifies the adverb 'fast'. 'Very' can be both an adjective and an adverb.
6. Prepositions : Prepositions show the relation of nouns or noun equivalents to other words in the sentences. They are usually placed before nouns or pronouns and show their connection to other words in the sentences.
The book is on the table.
I live in Delhi.
He is at home now.
He is afraid of her.
On, in, at and of are placed before table, Delhi, home and her respectively and show their relation to book, I, he and he.
7. Conjunctions : Conjunctions are joining words. They join words, phrases or clauses.
John and David came here today.
I can't go as I am ill today.
He is poor but honest.
Each of the three sentences above can be written as two separate sentences. They are joined by the conjunctions and, as and but. When separated, we can write them as
John came here today. David came here today.
I can't go. I am ill today.
He is poor. He is honest.
8. Interjections : Words that express sudden feelings or emotions are called interjections.
Alas! He is dead.
Hurrah! We have won the match.
Oh God! Save me.
Alas, hurrah and oh are interjections here. They express sudden feelings of the speaker.
The eight parts of speech or word classes are what constitute basic English grammar. So, a thorough understanding of the parts of speech is a must for every learner of English.