A review for ESOL students
There are nine parts of speech. They are articles, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections. A word of caution, however, a word can be more than one part of speech. You can find out more information on the parts of speech by checking the sources listed at the bottom of this review.
A noun is a word used to name something: a person/animal,
a place, a thing, or an idea. For example, all of the following are nouns.
&Nouns are classified in several ways…
Singular nouns name only one person, place, thing or idea.
One apple, a pencil, the book
Plural nouns name two or more persons, places, things or ideas. Most singular nouns (Not ALL) are made plural by adding –s. For example, (pencil is a singular noun. The word pencils is a plural noun.)
#1: If a noun ends with the –s, sh, ch, or x like
the words, kiss, church, ash or box, then they are made plural
by adding –es (kisses, churches, ashes, and boxes).
#2:There are also irregular nouns that do not follow
any rules. For example, the plural form of the word child is
Collective nouns are nouns that are grammatically considered singular, but include more than one person, place, thing, or idea in its meaning. Words like team, group, jury, committee, audience, crowd, class, troop, family, team, couple, band, herd, quartet, and society.
Generally, collective nouns are treated as singular because they emphasize the group as one unit.
The committee is going to make a decision.
one cannot go outside to have two fresh airs. One goes outside for fresh air.
5. Nouns can be Abstract or concrete
A gerund is the –ing form of the verb and is used as a noun. For example,
is good for
My crying upset
Note: A noun can fit
into more than one of these categories. For example, the noun Angela
is a singular, concrete, count, proper noun.
A pronoun is a word that replaces a noun. They eliminate the need for
Instead of Emma talked to Emma's
child, you might say Emma talked
to her child.
& There are several types of pronouns.
Personal Pronouns refer to specific persons or things. Personal pronouns can act as subjects, objects, or possessives.
Singular: I, me, you, she, her, he, him, it
Plural: we, us, you, they, them
I, you, she, he, it, we, and they are used as subjects of sentences.
For example, She knew the grammar rules very well.
The personal pronouns that can be used as objects are:
Me, you, him, her, it, them
Plural: yours, ours, theirs,
For Example: She returned my
pencil to me because it was mine.
3. Reflexive Pronouns name a receiver of an action who is identical to the doer of the action.
Singular: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself
Plural: ourselves, yourselves, themselves
For example: Manuela congratulated herself on her good grades.
Here, Manuela is both the doer and the receiver of the action.
Q: So, who did Manuela congratulate? A: Herself.
4. Intensive Pronouns emphasize a noun or another pronoun.
Plural: ourselves, yourselves, themselves
Here, himself emphasizes the antecedent, Bradd Pitt.
5. Reciprocal Pronouns express shared actions or feelings. They are:
Yan Ko and Tai help each other with their homework.
Leon and his girlfriend dance with one another when they go clubbing.
6. Indefinite Pronouns refer to non-specific persons and things.
Many believe that UFO’s exist, but nobody can prove it.
No one can be sure if aliens really exist, but only few wonder if Elvis is still alive.
The underlined indefinite pronouns do not refer to any one person. They are referring to people in general.
7. Demonstrative Pronouns are also considered noun markers. They "point" towards nouns.
The woman attends Gainesville College.
Q: Which woman? A: That woman.
Who is going on vacation? To whom will the teacher give an "A"?
What are you doing?
The English that we learn in class
will help us pass English 1101.
Q: Which English?
Note: Adjectives clauses
modify nouns or pronouns, and usually answer one of the following questions:
Which one? What kind of? They begin with a relative pronoun or
a relative adverb (when or where).
An adjective modifies (describes) a noun or pronoun.
Normally in English, the adjective comes before the noun. For example:
The smart student earned an "A".
They also come after linking verbs. For example:
I feel happy.
Adjectives can be used to make comparisons.
Adjectives can also be used as superlatives.
–est ending and the word most.
For example, I am the most happiest when my students learn. Instead, it should be: I am the happiest when my students learn.
There are some irregular adjective and adverb forms. For example:
Punctuation Note: Adjectives are not usually capitalized unless they are the first word in a sentence. BUT, nationalities are also adjectives and should be capitalized. For example:
Ricky Martin is Puerto Rican and Michelle Yeoh is Chinese.
These are called proper adjectives. And, like proper nouns, proper adjectives are always capitalized in English. They are derived from proper nouns and are words like: African-American, Vietnamese, Latino, Italian, Japanese, Korean, etc. They can also include adjectives like Catholic, Jewish, Republican, Democrat, etc.
When they are used together, they are arranged in a certain order.
I saw that tall, thin, old, blue, silk scarf at the store and I bought it.
Leon drives an expensive old Italian
You wouldn’t ordinarily use so many adjectives in just one sentence.
*Note: Determiners include articles, demonstrative pronouns, indefinite pronouns and possessive pronouns.
For example, Tai feels bad (guilty) when he has to leave class.
Here, bad is an adjective that modifies the proper noun Tai.
It is an adjective because it follows the linking verb to feel.
HOWEVER, verbs like look, sound, smell, feel, and taste can function as either an action verb or a linking verb.
Tai feels badly (to the touch) after swimming in a chlorinated pool. His skin is really dry.
Here, bad is used in its adverbial form since it follows an action verb, to feel.
Types of Adverbs:
Q: When did I like to play outside? A: When I was young.
The students in ESOL 98 always study very hard.
They rarely forget to do
NOTE: Generally, these adverbs
come before the verb; however there is an exception. In the case of the
verb to be, the adverb of frequency comes after the verb. For example:Azra
is always on time for class.
are the scotch tape of the grammatical world. They join together words
and phrases. There are three kinds of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions,
correlative conjunctions, and subordinating conjunctions.
1. Coordinating Conjunctions
There are seven coordinating conjunctions in English. You can use the mnemonic device fanboys to remember them.
They can be used with commas to create compound sentences. For example:
Ignacio loves to dance, but Rocío has no rhythm.
Kyong Mee works hard, yet she still earns low grades.
Note: A compound sentence is a sentence made up of two independent clauses. That is, a compound sentence is simply two complete sentences joined by a comma and a coordinating conjunction (i.e. a fanboys).
not only…but also
Not only am I happy about the grades, but I am also excited that you are learning!
3. Subordinating Conjunctions join an independent clause to a subordinate clause. That is, they join a clause that can stand alone with a clause that cannot stand alone. Some frequently used subordinating conjunctions are:
after, although, as, as if, because, before, even if, even though, if,
since, so that, though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, wherever,
Although the students were tired, they still came to class.
Interjections are words used to express emotional states. They can usually be found in narrative writing, interviews, and in spoken English. They can stand alone. For example:
Oh!, wow!, Ouch! Oops! Hey!
Punctuation Note: They are punctuated with either commas or exclamation marks. Mild interjections are followed by a comma, but stronger interjections are punctuated with an exclamation mark (!) .
Oh, we’re late for the movie.
Generally, the movies is not an important destination. Therefore, the person making this statement will sound less urgent than the next example.
Oh! I’m late for work.
Work, unlike the movies, is generally considered a very important destination.
If one doesn’t arrive on time, there is the possibility of being fired
or of losing face. Here, the speaker will have a greater sense of urgency.
Generally , you do not
find interjections in academic writing.
Prepositions are words that, like conjunctions, connect a noun or pronoun
to another word in a sentence. Some common prepositions:
A prepositional phrase is a group of words that begins with a preposition and ends with a noun or pronoun. They can act as adjectives or as adverbs.
Manuela, the student from Germany, wrote an excellent paper on the computer.
Verbs generally express action or a state of being. There are several classifications for verbs- action verbs,/linking verbs, main verbs/auxiliary verbs, transitive/intransitive and phrasal verbs.
1. Action verbs show action.
He runs. He plays. They study.
2. Linking Verbs link the subject to an adjective.
Ricky Martin is beautiful.
The linking verb is links the adjective beautiful with the subject Ricky Martin.
1. Main verbs can stand alone.
2. Auxiliary verbs, also called helping verbs, serve as support to the main verb.
The most common auxiliary verbs are:
Have, has, had
Do, does, did
Be, am, is, are, was, were, being, been
Should, could, will, would, might, can, may, must, shall, ought (to)
Tai has runeveryday.
Run is an action verb. The subject can actually "do" it.
Has is the helping verb. It helps the main verb run to be present perfect tense.
Verbs can be transitive or intransitive.
Yolanda takes aspirin
for her headaches.
The verb swim has meaning for the reader without an object.
Caution: A verb can be either transitive or intransitive depending on its context. For Example:
The cars race. – Here, raceis intransitive. It does not need an object.
My father races horses. – Here, races is transitive. It requires the object horses in order to make sense.
Verbs can be phrasal.
call up, find out, hand in, make up, put off, turn on, write up
The base form of a verb is called the infinitive. It is to + verb.
For example, to do, to win, to study, etc. Under no circumstance can a
verb preceded by to be considered a verb. Infinitives are not
Q: What do articles do in a sentence?
A: Articles signal that a noun is going to
The indefinite article ‘an’
can only appear before nouns that begin with a vowel sound: an
apartment, an hour, an
General Rules for the Use of Articles:
I. Use a/an with singular
count nouns whose specific identity is not
known to the reader either because it is being mentioned for the first
time, or because its specific identity is unknown even to the writer.
III. Use the with most nouns whose specific identity is known to the reader because:
1. the noun has been previously mentioned:
A final caution- A word can be more than one part of speech. For example:
I sat on the sofa.
Above, sofa is used as a noun (object of the preposition).
I slept on the sofa bed.
But, here sofa is used as an adjective to modify the noun bed.
And, native speakers often take poetic license with words in conversation. For example:
It’s Sofa city for you!
Here, sofa acts as an adjective to describe the noun city. The
meaning of the sentence is that the person will have to sleep on the sofa,
not a bed.
Azar, B. (1992). Fundamentals of English grammar 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.
Hacker, D. (1989). A writer’s reference. New York: St. Martin’s
Hayes, C. (1996). English at hand. Marlton, NJ: Townsend Press.
Leah’s head. J
Shono, S. (Fall 1998). ESL 0650 Articles Handout.