B – Parts of Speech Introduction


The English language is composed of eight parts of speech: the noun, the pronoun, the verb, the adjective, the adverb, the preposition, the conjunction, and the interjection. Some words can be different parts of speech in different sentences with different meanings.

For example: well

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] They pulled a bucket of water from the well. [/responsivevoice]   (noun)

Her eyes welled with tears at the thought. (verb)

Are you well? (adjective)

He speaks well. (adverb)

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] Well! That’s a fine mess you’ve made. [/responsivevoice]   (interjection)


A noun is used to identify a person, place, thing or idea. There are several types of nouns; common, proper, concrete, abstract, singular, plural, countable, non-countable, collective, and possessive. Many nouns belong to multiple categories at the same time

Some examples of nouns are:

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] house [/responsivevoice]  singular, concrete, common, countable
Canadiansplural, concrete, proper, countable
[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] happiness [/responsivevoice]  abstract, non-countable, common
herd (of horses)collective, common, countable, concrete
sugarcommon, non-countable, concrete


A verb expresses actions, events, or state of being in a sentence.  It also indicates whether an event happened in the past, present, or future. There are several tenses used to conjugate verbs.

Simple PresentI work in Ottawa
Simple PastI worked in Prince Edward Island when I was younger.
Simple FutureI will work in British Columbia next year.
Present Progressive (Continuous)I am working today.
Past Progressive (Continuous)I was working when he called.
Future Progressive (Continuous)I will be working all weekend.
Present Perfect[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] I have been working on the project for six months. [/responsivevoice]  
Past PerfectI had worked on the file for three months before I transferred to a new project.
Future Perfect I will have worked on this project for eight months by the time it’s done.
Present Perfect Progressive (Continuous)I have been working here for seven years.I have been working here since 2014.  
Past Perfect Progressive (Continuous)I had been working there for three years when they closed.
Future Perfect Progressive (Continuous)[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] I will have been working here for 24 years when I retire next year. [/responsivevoice]  


Pronouns are used to replace a noun or another pronoun.  They are used to make sentences less repetitive.  There are several types of pronouns including the personal pronoun, demonstrative pronoun, interrogative pronoun, indefinite pronoun, relative pronoun, reflexive pronoun, and intensive pronouns. Pronouns agree with the word they replace for gender and number.


[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] Clara has a blue car. [/responsivevoice]  

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] She has a blue car. [/responsivevoice]  Her car is blue.

NOT: He has a blue car.

Clara drove Clara’s car to the garage,  The mechanic told Clara that Clara’s car needed new tires.  The mechanic installed the tires on Clara’s car.

Clara drove her car to the garage.  The mechanic told her that it needed new tires.  The mechanic installed them on it.  

Nounreplaced by
Clara’s carit
the tiresthem
Clara’s carit


An adjective describes a noun or pronoun.  It is usually placed before the word it describes.  When there are several adjectives modifying the same word, they are generally written in a particular order. The usual order is:  Quantity, Value/opinion, Size, Temperature, Age, Shape, Colour, Origin, Material.

Here is an example using most of the categories.  The three expensive large old square grey Gothic granite mansions were built in 1875.  (All of the underlined words describe the word ‘mansions’.)

Usually only two or three adjectives are used to describe a noun or pronoun at a time


Five books

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] Quaint cottage [/responsivevoice]  

Tiny kitten

Cold wind

Young colt

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] Circular paved driveway [/responsivevoice]  

Green dress

Spanish music

Metal door


Adverbs are used to describe verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.  Adverbs that describe adjectives and other adverbs are usually placed before the word they describe.  When they describe a verb, they usually follow it.  Many adverbs end in -ly, but not all.


The house sold quickly. ( quickly modifies the verb sold)

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] The extremely steep hill was fun to slide down. [/responsivevoice]  (extremely modifies the adjective steep)

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] Carter is reading so quickly that he will need to go back to the library this week. [/responsivevoice]  (so modifies the adverb quickly)


Prepositions link nouns, pronouns and phrases to other parts of a sentence.  The word or phrase introduced by the preposition is called the object of the preposition.  A preposition usually indicates where something is located in time, space or logic of its object to the rest of the sentence.

The mouse is on the floor.

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] The mouse is behind the bookcase. [/responsivevoice]  

The mouse is hiding under the desk.

The mouse ran through the room during supper.

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] The cat pounced towards the mouse.   [/responsivevoice]  

Some of the most common prepositions are:

aboutabove   acrossafteragainst
alongamong.around at before
beyondbut bydespitedown
duringexcept forfromin
insideinto likenearof
off on ontoout outside
overpast sincethrough throughout
till totowardunder underneath
untilupupon with within


Conjunctions are used to link words and phrases.

Some of the most common conjunctions are:

forSo yetso…as


[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] John, Paul, George and Ringo were the members of the Beatles. [/responsivevoice]  

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] Neither Fred nor George wanted to see the movie. [/responsivevoice]  

The soccer team wants to either have a pizza party or go bowling as a reward.


Interjections are words added to sentences to add emotion.  They are usually followed by an exclamation mark. 


Ouch! That hurts.

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] Wow!  I can’t believe it. [/responsivevoice]  

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] Some say all Canadian sentences end with, eh? [/responsivevoice]  

Hey!  Get back here!

B – Nouns Count and Non-Count

Count and Non-Count Nouns

Some nouns can be counted (1 car, 2 cars, 3 cars…) while others cannot (1 sand, 2 sand, 3 sand…)  In general, non-count nouns are things that that you cannot count separately, such as sand or hair.  “A” and “an” are usually not used with non-count nouns and they use singular verbs and pronouns. 

Abstract Wordscourage, time
Activitieswalking, fishing, sailing
Fields of studygeography, science
Foodcorn, chocolate, fish
Gases and Liquidsair, steam, water, milk, coffee
Materialscotton, plastic, canvas
Natural Forcesheat, lightning
Particlesdust, sand, sugar, salt
Exceptionsadvice, furniture, money, clothing, luggage, mail, information, homework, housework, work

NOTE:  When non-count nouns are measured, considered as pieces, or placed in containers, the plural can be formed. 


[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] I need some coffee. [/responsivevoice]  (A specific amount is not specified.)

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] Could you pick me up a cup of coffee?[/responsivevoice]   (A specific amount is specified.)

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] Could you pick me up a coffee?[/responsivevoice]   (A specific amount is not specified but it is implied or understood to be a cup.)

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] I need soil for the garden.[/responsivevoice]   (A specific amount is not specified.)

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] I need five soils for the garden.[/responsivevoice]   (The unit for the quantity is neither specified nor implied.) It should read as, “I need five bags of soil for the garden”.

B – Nouns Collective Nouns

Collective Nouns

‘Collective nouns’ is the term for a singular noun that refers to a group of objects. When it refers to the group acting as one, the associated verb is singular.

Some common collective nouns are listed below.

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] flock of birds [/responsivevoice]

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] jury of peers [/responsivevoice]

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] herd of cattle [/responsivevoice]

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] murder of crows [/responsivevoice]

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] fleet of airplanes, ships [/responsivevoice]

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] pride of lions, peacocks [/responsivevoice]

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] range of mountains [/responsivevoice]

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”] wealth of information [/responsivevoice]

[responsivevoice voice=”US English Male” buttontext=”Play”] wad of bills, money [/responsivevoice]


A noun is a part of speech that is used to identify people, places, things, animals, ideas, actions or quality. Nouns are classified into many different groups: Common, Proper, Concrete, Abstract, Collective

Common Proper Concrete AbstractCollective
citiesMrs. Jonespencilfriendship family

Use of the article a, an, or the signal that a noun is to follow.

Nouns may function as a subject or an object.

Examples: [responsivevoice voice=”US English Female” buttontext=”Play”]The bird flew to the nest.[/responsivevoice]   (bird – subject, nest – object)

Many singular nouns become plural by adding an -s at the end of the word. This makes them plural. (e.g. bug, bugs). Other times you may need to add _es to the noun if it ends in an s. (e.g. bus, buses)